Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sitter is coming tonight

so that Dennis and I can go to the trailer show (in peace) and then for a late supper afterwards (with friends). This is so exciting. We have two babysitters that live close to us and they really like babysitting!! How awesome is that?! S-weet!
The Perfect Day and So Young are the two layouts I did at the same time. I am trying to use up the rest of the birthday pictures of Travis' 4th birthday party, which if I could truly pick the perfect day, that one would be it. We just celebrated his birthday with just us. No friends, etc. We got up, went to church, then headed to Okotoks, got some subs at Quizno's and had a picnic lunch by the river and spent the whole afternoon there. I was pregnant with Danika at the time, and Kael just loved sitting in the river chewing on rocks! HA The kids had a blast playing in the river and we were almost the last to leave there. We came home and Travis opened his gifts and then it was bedtime. It was just a great family day! All three of these layouts were from sketches over at the Pencil Lines Blog.
Look how young Den and I were. No kids...just us. I don't even know if we bought our first house yet or not here. I have NO idea how old we are here!
I had a lot of fun with this layout, using paint, Glimmermist, stamps, ripping paper, etc.

Well baby is sleeping, so I am going to go start another layout and then get ready for date night! YEEHAW!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finally a layout

was completed and here it is. I used a stamp from Stampin' Up (the long grass) which I just love. I can think of endless possibilities for that one!
I started two layouts today which I have never done before. Usually I complete one layout before I start another one, but because I used paint on one, I had to let it dry, so I started another one!! Woohoo.

Tonight I made a new recipe called Chicken Cordon Bleu 11 from All Recipes. It is a keeper as it has this great creamy wine sauce that is to die for. I made pasta with it and put the sauce over that too. I know the chicken is buried in sauce so you can't really see it, but oh man was it good. The kids ate it all up as well.

We went to the movie Avatar on Saturday night with our two oldest kids and friends of ours and their kids. It was playing in 3D. This movie is the best movie I have ever seen and I am telling you to go out and not miss this experience. The movie theater is the best place to see this movie and it must also be seen in 3D! The technology is AMAZING! This is a movie experience you don't want to miss. It is just that good. PLEASE please go see it!! I am hoping to go and see it again at the Imax! I just can't say enough great things about it! How about you? Have you seen it? What did you think?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The end of the cookbook testing

for Art Smith is here and I had three chicken breasts to use up, so I made Red Pepper Jelly Chicken breasts. The Red Pepper Jelly is from Epicure and is very tasty with pork as well-especially ribs! It makes a sticky glaze over the meat and is very good. BUT in this case I over cooked the chicken and it was very dry...I can't stand it when I do this. What a waste. The kids ate all of theirs, which was nice, and we ate about 3/4 of ours. That was too bad. We had it with macaroni and cheese and corn.
I also made buns for the very first time and after supper Jacie and I finished making them. I started them too late to have for supper, which was maddening, but at least I could pack them in the kids lunches for Friday. The buns were very good and will try to make them every couple of weeks. YUM
With some of the dough I made cinnamon buns because I wasn't thrilled with the first batch. Dennis liked the first batch better, but I liked these better as I don't care for the caramel glaze the other ones I will keep trying new recipes for cinnamon buns.
Friday, Carrie came over and we made homemade perogies. It was my second time and I was a little intimidated, but with her help we pumped out many dozen...I didn't count exactly how many, but maybe 8-10 dozen? Not sure...We had them for supper with fried onions and farmer sausage. SOOO GOOD! Kael alone eats at least 6. Danika doesn't like them yet...same with is a texture thing.
To sum up the cookbook, I think it is a great cookbook that offers wholesome, pretty easy recipes, and uses ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store-which is super important when you have a busy household (and a large family) when one stop shopping is ideal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Last night

we had Chinese Curried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables. It turned out really well. I didn't have egg noodles, but did have Angle Hair pasta, so I used that instead. When I make this again I will add an onion along with the green onions. I also didn't have celery that it called for. The whole family ate this one up.

Here is the finished supper. Yum.

During the afternoon I got an urge to make Cinnamon Buns for the first time. This recipe was from All Recipes and it is called Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Buns. They turned out okay for me. My husband ate 4 last night and just loves them. I think for me it isn't the recipe of my FAV cinnamon buns, so I will keep exploring...but for a first attempt, can't complain.
Now, what to make for lunch? Still haven't gotten around to figuring that out yet...the weekly lunch menu.
After supper, I put on the tunes while the kids and I cleaned up supper. Music soothes the soul and gets me in a better mood to tackle any clean up. I don't know about you but I loath cleaning... so anything to help ease that pain is much appreciated...and music does that!
One of these days I am going to get back to my other love...scrapbooking. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Okay a day late!

Last night we packed up the kids and went to Swiss Chalet for supper. This is the first venture out with all of us in a family restaurant in about a year. We brought both of our booster chairs for Danika and Kael and got a big booth and strapped them in and prayed for the best. Over all it went very well and so glad we did it. It was great to get out as a family and enjoy a sit down meal. Swiss Chalet is so good too as they have a great kids menu and really good meals for the whole family. I recommend it to everyone. YUM!
Tonight I finally made the Flank Steak with Red Wine Butter Sauce. I really really like this cookbook. I like how you just have a few ingredients and the recipes are straightforward and easy to do, with so far good results (the parsnips was my fault as I guess on the bigger ones there is a bitter core that needs to be cut out-lesson learned!). This recipe was good but I screwed up the sauce, as the flank steak was pretty rare so I put it back in the sauce to cook a bit more, but the juices made the sauce watery again after I had a nice reduction...oh well it still tasted good.

Here is a side called Creamed Spinach. This one had mixed results and Danika ate it up like crazy, Kael had about 4 good size bites, Jacie gagged (with her nose plugged) but got it down with a piece of steak to mask it and Travis gagged about 4 times and with teary eyes I said he could spit it in the garbage. Oh man I laughed at him after. I know, nice mom eh?! But they all have to try it no matter what! I also made Two Potato Mash with Yams and Yukon potatoes. This was VERY good and will be made a lot. It is by far the best side I have made in a long time! 5 out of 5 here!! Here is the final product.

Lastely, this afternoon I made Carrotcake Muffins with a creamcheese icing. The kids got to eat them after supper and they liked them, so they are a hit! YEAH!!

I am off to watch some TV as I have been in the kitchen from 2pm and finished cleaning up supper after 7:30pm. My feet are throbbing!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rummoli anyone?

Yesterday I was feeling blah all day and feeling sorry for myself, as Dennis was at work, yet again on a Saturday-and as much as I should be thankful that he is busy still in this economy, I was down because I miss him. He worked late quite a bit over the last two weeks, which just sucks for him and us. At the end of this month, he is going to be gone a full week working out of town, so it is all just building up. The kids miss him when he is gone; so do I-which is a good thing, as if I didn't I would be writing on a whole different topic. So missing him and my stomach bothering me (I have a doctors appointment on Monday morning), there has been a lot on my mind.
Anyway, when Den finally got home I wanted to go out for supper, so as we were getting ready I turned on the music and I immediately phoned our friends-who conveniently live across the street-and invited them over for a games night instead. The music got me pumped for company! We had a great time. It was what I needed to pull me out of the dumps. The game we played was Rummoli, which is a great great game! I think we quit playing around 2:30am??? and then we chatted until 4:30ish.
Tonight I will post again as I am making 3 new recipes for supper.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 3

Today I was suppose to make a dish (from the same cookbook) using the left over tenderloin from last night...but I could make excuse after excuse as to why I didn't go out today, but the plain truth is that I didn't want to load up 3 kids and head to the grocery store for the 3 items I was missing. I know, lazy eh?! The funny thing is that I may have to load up all 4 kids tomorrow instead as we need milk yet again. I would love to get delivery to the door for milk...I need to check into that! :)
BUT I did make my own dish instead. I used black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, Epicure Oriental Stir-fry seasoning (which if you do a lot of stir fry's is a must), and you'll see the rest of the ingredients from the picture. Looking at this I should have cut the tenderloin in smaller pieces (this is Dennis' bowl) but whatever it was really good. I love stir fry's. They are quick and easy and I feel that they are good for you as well.
After supper and after Danika and Kael went to bed we watched The Water Horse for family movie night. It was a great movie. Finally a good family movie! That one gets 5 out of 5 stars from me!
In regards to what Dennis thought of the side dish from yesterday (the diesel mash)...he said it was okay and turned and looked at me and said 'what was in that anyway, parsnips?' Yeah I looked at him and was like how the heck do you know what parsnips are?! I have never made them or bought them before in my life...and the most gourmet thing he made while he was a bachelor was pork chops in cream of mushroom soup! MEN!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 2

Tonight I made Roast Pork Tenderloin with Asian Glaze. Again, pretty simple ingredients-the sesame oil was the most 'exotic' ingredient. I paired this meal with Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips which I was super excited to try. I made corn as well to give some sweetness to the Asian sauce.

Here is the finished product and yes the pork loin tasted as good as it looks. It was very good. I would definitely make this again! The Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips on the other hand looked good, but tasted horrible. Something went really wrong here. My first bite I wanted to spit it out! My first thought that came to my mind was it tasted like diesel or gas...I think the parsnips were extremely bitter?! I have no idea why this didn't turn out and I am so sad that it didn't work, cause I wanted to pass it off as mashed potatoes! BOO! Oh well, I will google how to peel a parsnip and make sure that I didn't leave too much 'outside' on it...I just took out my carrot peeler and peeled it like a carrot. Is this right? I dunno, but will check it out, as I don't ever want to taste that taste again!
As far as the family test, the kids loved the pork and corn...I didn't let them eat more than the one bite of the side dish, for obvious reasons! Dennis is not home yet, so I will post his thoughts tomorrow...and yes I gave him a good amount of the side for not coming home on time and I'll just see what he thinks of it all on his own!! Bahahahhahaa! Think evil laugh! Bahahaha!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Change of plans...

I started the meals tonight from this cookbook (this was also where I got the meatloaf recipe was from).

First up I made Salmon with Scallions, Tarragon and Lemon. Here is all the ingredients that I needed to make it. Not too much at all eh?! It calls for low sodium chicken broth, but I just used water with Epicure Chicken bullion (which I have to say is one of my favourite products!).

Here is the side I made with the salmon, called Corn and Rice Pilaf. I was going to add the red peppers and carrot (which was NOT in the recipe) but decided after to leave it out as I wanted to stay true to the recipe. It was so good and I am glad I didn't add any other veg to it. Next time I make it, I will not hesitate to add those extra veggies, but for a first time I think it is important to stay true to the recipe. The sauce over the salmon was spot on! SO was very tasty. So the true did the family rate it...

Dennis said it was awesome, he just loved it. Kael and Danika ate half of what I gave them. Travis ate all of it, he really liked it and Jacie ate half of it. She didn't care for the salmon...but it was her first attempt at salmon and I don't know if it was it her mind that was telling her before she even had it that she wouldn't like it, or if she truly didn't like it?! But too bad she will be getting more of it throughout her years! HA

Here is Kael in his training aka swim pants. Couldn't resist this picture!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

8 days

ago I started potty training Kael and on day 5 and 6 he had NO pee messes at all. He would feel the urge to go and come and whine to get his 'swim' pants off and then go in the potty. I was feeling so great that we have come so far in such a short time. We would go out and come home 2 to 3 hours later and he would be dry, we went to church and came home and he was dry. I was like YES we did it (for pee only)...he even wears his training pants at bedtime now and has waken up for 3 nights straight DRY...then Monday morning hit. He had his wake-up pee in the potty and then after that he has been having accidents since-both pee and poop. I guess my luck has run out. I was busy Monday cleaning the house all morning, and not really paying much attention to the potty duties, as he was so good with telling me when he had to go or just going on his own and needless to say he had many accidents in the morning and not really willing to sit on the potty anymore on his own. This had caused me to do about 8 loads of full laundry to keep up to having some training pants clean and ready for him. Thankfully after his nap I kept after him and he only had one pee accident for the rest of the afternoon. Today I have been on him all day and he has only had 2 pee accidents so far. I hope we are on the road to success again!

Today I have planned out our suppers for the week of Jan 18th - 24th. I have pulled all the recipes from the cookbook Kitchen Life by Art Smith. I am very excited to try more recipes from him, as so far I have had the mini meatloaves with really good gravy and yes it was really good.

Here is that recipe:
1 1/3 ponds of meat loaf mix (pork, beef, and veal)
1/3 C plus 2 tbsp ketchup
1/3 C dried bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 C all-purpose flour
2 C canned reduced-sodium beef broth
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350'F. Lightly oil a 13x9 inch metal baking dish.
2. Combine the meat loaf mix, 1/3 C ketchup, bread crumbs, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl (your hands work best). In the baking dish, shape the meat mixture into six 3-inch-wide mounds. Poke your finger into the middle of each mound to make a hole.
3. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a meat loaf reads 165'F, about 40 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking, spread the remaining 2 tbsp ketchup over the tops of the meat loaves. Transfer them to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
4. Tilt the baking dish and spoon out the clear fat, leaving 1 tbsp juice in the pan. Place over 2 burners on medium heat. Add the butter and melt it. Sprinkle with the flour and whisk well. Whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the meat loaves hot with the gravy passed on the side. ENJOY!

I have pulled 10 recipes all together-5 suppers; 3 sides; 2 desserts. As I make the recipes I will take pictures of the meal, write about how it turned out and how difficult (or not) they were to make, etc. The kids are eating what we eat, so I will also give the kids an opinion of thumbs up or down...should be very interesting! :) Wish me luck!!

Now, the next thing I have to do it plan out our lunches for Travis, Kael, Danika and I. We need a plan so we eat just as good/healthy at lunchtime as well as at supper. It isn't going to be extravagant--but it has to be nutritious and semi-easy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Potty Training AGAIN

Well it is that time, Kael is exactly 2 years and 3 months old today, so 2 days ago I started potty training. No diapers (except for bedtime), just training pants and at nap it is a pull-up. First it was a battle trying to get him to wear the training pants, so one time I called them swim pants (as he loves to go swimming) and whola...he lets me put them on now. Battle 1-mommy wins. For the past 2 days have been spent in his room, living room, basement with the potty attached to my hip. We have a deal...if he wants a show (which has never been offered to him until 2 days ago) then he has to sit on the pot to watch. So far that gives me a break from the never ending books required to keep him on the pot...ohhh I am sooo exhausted from that. I mostly make him run around naked from the waist down and close all the doors so he can't pee on the carpet. Everywhere else is either hardwood or tile, so that is easy to clean up. Carpet-not so much. He helicopters once in awhile with the pee...he will start to go and then I am screaming "just wait, just wait" and as I am saying this, he is spinning watching my whirlwind of movement to find and get his potty seat to him - hence the helicopter motion. So, so far battle 2-which is the most important-going on the potty-Kael is winning...he doesn't tell me when he has to go and just goes when I put his training pants on...oh well, at least he is willing to sit on the pot.

Christmas was a great time with my family and was so happy to have them here. The time sure went fast and was glad for it all. Dennis had taken 5 days off, which was great. It was nice to have him around. Dennis' sister, Tracy, even flew in for a few days and it was great to have her here as well. We took the kids, along with my parents and Tracy swimming...we were there for 3 hours. It was so great to have the extra hands with the little ones. It was a great time.

Here is my dad and Dennis cleaning the dust off of our fan. It was quite comical!

Well I am off to the city to do some errands! Wish me luck and success with potty training!!