Saturday, May 22, 2010

Use what you've got

Now fellow bloggers, I am not the kind of girl that easily goes with the flow. I love to plan out things, whether it be vacations, events or a grocery list. Well this week I have been able to actually use what we already had to make dinner, muffins, ect.
(The left side of the picture is chocolate chip muffins and the right side is banana nut)

Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup milk
* 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 (11 1/2 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Grease twelve muffin cups.
3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
4. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended.
5. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.
6. Add milk mixture and stir just to combine.
7. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
8. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
9. Now bake for 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
10. Remove muffin tin to wire rack.
11. Cool for 5 minutes.
12. Remove from tins to finish cooling.

Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl (I added nuts also). Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

I also made some really yummy cupcakes using the chocolate cake recipe from the Better Homes Cookbook.
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup milk
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl sitr together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar (about 1/4 cup at a time). Scrape sides of bowl; continue beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 minute total). Beat in vanilla.
3. Alternately add floud mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pans.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
*I frosted them with this Buttercream Icing.

Also in exciting news, my friend Emily had her baby girl on Tuesday night and we were able to go see baby Natalie on Thursday. She is perfect!!

This weekend we've also gotten to see our friends Nick and Sarah in San Antonio, who are expecting their first bundle of joy within the next two months!! The boys golfed, the girls shopped and went to see a movie. We ate dinner last night at the new Marriott resort in San Antonio and it was beautiful! I'm just always so impressed with the scenery each time we go to San Antonio. We've stayed before at the Westin La Cantera and it was equally as beautiful and serene.

2 kid days and 1 teacher day until summer!! Which might consist of summer school, but it'll still be nice to have a change of pace. : )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

School is coming to an end...

14 School days left in the year! Where has the time gone?! I am looking forward to mornings of sleeping in, but am not quite ready to let my kiddos become first graders. This is such a busy time of year though, which explains the lack and brevity of my updates : )

Dinner with one of my favorite friends a few weeks ago

EG making a wish
Playing with her daddy

EG cheesin' at bathtime

From EG's bday back in April: This might be my new favorite picture...they keep saying we're quite a bit alike : )

A few recipes...very yummy ones!
Granola (I like this one a lot!)
Adapted from Alton Brown (Food Network)
* 3 cups rolled oats
* 1 cup slivered almonds
* 1 cup cashews
* ½ cup sunflower kernals
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.

Pasta Primavera

From the Kitchen of Emeril Lagasse
1 pound rotini or penne pasta
5 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped red onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for the pasta water
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound zucchini or yellow squash (or a mixture of both), halved
lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch half-moon pieces
(about 4 cups)
2 cups frozen mixed peas and carrots
1 cup diced canned tomatoes, with juices
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil (optional)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(I marinated two pieces of chicken in Italian dressing and cooked them in a skillet before starting the pasta. After cutting it into strips, I added it into the pasta)
*Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rotini and
cook until just tender, about 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 /4
cup of the cooking water, and set aside.
*While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a 14-inch sauté
pan over medium-high
heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, 4
minutes. Add the 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and garlic, and
cook for 1 minute longer. Add the squash and continue to cook, stirring as needed, for 2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and
cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook,
stirring, for 2 minutes.
*Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the sauce and
cook until the pasta is heated through and the ingredients are
well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in
the Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil, if desired. Then drizzle with
the extra-virgin olive oil. Garnish with more cheese, if desired,
and serve hot.

Chicken With Lime and Avocado Salsa

Rocco DiSpirito
4 chicken cutlets (or two boneless, skinless breasts, halved)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium red onion, cut in thin strips
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges
*Preheat grill pan over high heat.
*Coat chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously
with salt and pepper.
*Add to grill pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes each side or until no pink
*Meanwhile, in large bowl combine avocados, tomato, onion,
jalapeno, lime juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
*Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Serve with chicken.
*Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.
With the chicken, I made mexican rice and used the Goya black bean recipe
Black Beans
4 tbsp EVOO
1 cup onion chopped
½ cup green pepper chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 lb. 13 oz can black beans
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp White cooking wine
*Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
*Add onion, pepper and garlic; cook until tender (5 minutes)
*Stir in remaining ingredients; reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes.

Garlic and Herb Chicken Dinner
4 Chicken breast
1 can of green beans (drained)
1 large russet potato peeled and sliced
1 stick of butter
1 package garlic and herb seasoning (dry salad dressing mix)
*Preheat oven to 375
*In a 13x9 pyrex dish, place chicken breasts, potato slices and green beans.
*In a small bowl, melt stick of butter and stir in seasoning
*Pour seasoning mixture over chicken, potatoes and green beans
*Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Carolina and I made hummus and pita chips the other day!

* 3/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
* 5 garlic cloves, peeled
* 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp salt
* 1⁄4 tsp black pepper
* 2 (19 ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1. Place first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
2. Add juice and remaining ingredients; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Pita Chips
Pita bread
Olive Oil
Greek Seasoning
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
*Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. Place triangles on lined cookie sheet.
*Cover lightly in olive oil, then sprinkle with Greek Seasoning
*Bake in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise

This week my family had to say goodbye for now to one of the greatest men I have ever had the honor of knowing. My sweet 82 year old Papaw passed away on Tuesday morning.
For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing my Papaw, let tell you a little bit about him. He was a very godly, humble man. He loved the Lord and let everyone know. He loved my Mamaw more than anything in the world. He served in the Airforce. He loved his family and he told us often. He was full of mischief as was shown by his grin, you never knew quite what he was up to. He always said that he was never a rich man by wordly standards, but he was rich in all the ways that mattered. He whistled a lot. Papaw liked to play solitare. He used to do a lot of wood work (I still have an American Girl Doll bed that he made me). I got to dance with my Papaw at our wedding, I will always cherish that moment.
I am sad and I miss my Papaw, but take great comfort in the promise that this is not a goodbye forever.
My Baylor Graduation

Our Engagement Party
At the Wedding

Papaw's 80th Birthday
With his great-grandaughter : )

Christmas '08
81st Birthday

Fall '09
My Sweet Grandparents this spring