Monday, June 28, 2010

Bright Days Ahead....

Oh friends, the excitement felt at the end of the regular school year does not even compare to the sheer elation coming in 4 days!
After a full school year and a 3 week 3 day summer school, I am READY for summer! Now some of you may not like me saying that seeing as how you do not get to experience the joy of summer and I apologize, but spending 10+ months with 20+ children under 6 years of age means that I need a break to stay sane and continue thoroughly enjoying my job!
Things to look forward to:
1. DIY projects (lots on the to do list!)
2. Reading
3. Sleeping later
4. Running in the morning (not in the heat of the day)
5. Laying out
6. Trips

Observation of late
1. our pups are bff...just look at them cuddling (and I didn't even stage this picture!)

2. Our girls are slightly confused on which bed belongs to them...

3. Redfish *heart* Bolivar (Catch of the day from our most recent Bolivar trip)

Summer themed recipes:
Brown Fam Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a big deal in the Brown household. Typically they are made to celebrate birthdays or holidays. I was craving these the other day so I made them when we had some friends staying at our house.
Mix together:
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
Sprinkle over mixture – 1 pkg dry yeast
Stir in 1 egg
Add 1/8 cup soft shortening
Mix in (with spoon or hand) 3- 3 ½ cups flour
Round up dough. Place in greased bowl.
Rub with soft shortening. Cover. (Can be placed in refrigerator until ready to use, but I usually leave it out until it doubles in size.)
For cinnamon rolls:
Mix together 1 stick margarine (melted) and enough sugar to make it spreadable and enough cinnamon for your taste.
Roll out ½ of the dough. Spread on sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll jellyroll fashion. Cut into about 12 rolls.
Bake 12 -15 minutes (until golden brown) at 400 degrees.

Frozen Fruit Bars

-2 cups cut-up summer fruit (strawberries, peaches, watermelon, etc.)
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. Place the fruit in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
2. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cover and blend until well mixed.
3. Pour into 4 oz. ice-pop molds or paper cups. Insert sticks. Freeze until solid.

Sweet-Potato Chicken Quesadillas

* 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
* One 15-ounce can black beans
* Four 10-inch flour tortillas
* 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
* 2 cups shredded jack cheese (I did a mix of cheese and really like the ones done with mozzarella best)
1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the sweet potato until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add the beans and mash; spread onto 2 tortillas. Top each with chicken, cheese and a second tortilla; press to flatten. In a skillet, cook each quesadilla over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes; flip and cook for about 2 minutes more. Cut into wedges.

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade
from Real Simple

-3 cups ice
-1 1/2 cups blueberries
-1 cup lemonade
-1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
-1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
*This made a lot of drinks, so what Cody and I did not drink, I made into popsicles.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh say can you see...

Oh my! I just watched Jay walking on the Tonight Show and as funny as it can be, I was saddened by how little these people knew about America! I didn't even think this was possible! As a teacher and a person that loves history, I am shocked that these people passed their American History classes. Let's refresh on important American facts:
1. The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 declaring the 13 American colonies' independence from England. (Thus explaining why we celebrate Independence day on July 4).
2. America declared their independence from England (yes people actually missed this one...)
3. The name of our National Anthem is "The Star Spangled Banner." It was written by Francis Scott Key.
4. Betsy Ross was the seamstress of the 1st American flag. It had 13 stars and 13 stripes to represent the 13 colonies. (Someone really said 50....)
5. France aided America in defeating the British.
6. British soldiers were referred to as the "Red Coats."
7. The Liberty Bell is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
8. Americans dumped tea into the harbor in Boston (Boston Tea Party).
9. The North (Union) fought the South (Confederacy) in the Civil War. The North won. (Some thought this was the Revolutionary war..)

Be proud people! Learn about your country!!
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - idk who actually said this, but Coach McGhee used to always tell us that in 8th grade history! : )

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We got new side tables in a our guest room:

Planted the front flower bed:

My favorite flowers in this bed are the hydrangeas although they are very needy flowers

Added some flowers to back porch

My mom can fix anything. She repaired Chloe's bed that looked like this after Ellie had a fun afternoon

Now it looks like this

My car rolled over 100,000 miles on our way to Longview this past weekend! It feels like I just picked it out!

Pics from the girls' first Ferry ride on our way to Bolivar a few weeks ago : )

And Ellie before we even left the house ready to go play
And my new running skirt! Who doesn't want to feel cute as they run in 100 degree weather : )
Random enough for you? : )

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


For all of you crazy chefs out there who are just dying for a few new recipes, I won't leave you hanging any longer : )
After having Rachel Ray's turkey tacos recommended to me, I looked online for the recipe. Instead of finding the recipe for the tacos, I found a great idea for taco "shells."

6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
Cooking spray
*Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
*Wrap the tortillas in a damp towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Spray each tortilla on both sides with cooking spray and gently push them into a jumbo muffin tin, forming a cup shape.
*Make a couple extras so you can choose the nicest ones out of the batch. Bake tortillas for about 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown and hold their shape.

I later found out that the recipe I needed was in the Rachel Ray cookbook I already had : ) So I made these tacos and put them in those "shells." (I also use ground beef rather than ground turkey b/c the day that I went to the store I was feeling cheap and didn't feel like "splurging" on the turkey)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 package ground turkey breast
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning ( I didn’t have this, so I added a little taco seasoning)
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium onion chopped
¼ cup golden raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ cup beer or chicken stock
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (I used cheddar b/c I had it)
Salsa, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sour cream (taco toppings)
*Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO. Add the turkey and break up with a wooden spoon.
*Season the meat with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
*Add the garlic, onions and raisins to the meat, then season with the chili powder and cumin.
* Cook for 5 minutes, then sitr in the beer or stock and deglaze the pan.
*Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
And all I have to say is yum!

Last week I had two of my sweet friends over for these sliders, baked potato salad and lemonade. (Btw, you can buy slider buns now!)

Loaded Baked Potato Salad
8 potatoes, cubed (half peeled or half with skin)
2 tsp salt
6 slices bacon, diced & crisp cooked
6 green onions
2 C cheddar cheese, shredded
16 oz sour cream
¼ tsp pepper
1 C Miracle Whip
1. Cube and boil potatoes with salt
2. Drain
3. Crumble bacon and slice onions (including tops)
4. Combine sour cream, pepper, and Miracle Whip
5. Add to potatoes
6. Add bacon, onions, and cheese (reserve some of each for top)
7. Mix with potatoes
8. Pour into baking dish
9. Top with reserved cheese, onions, and bacon
10. Bake 350 for 10-15 minutes (until cheese melts)

And I love breakfast! So I finally tried my mom's coffee cake recipe. I would suggest that you pick a pan deep enough so that the brown sugar topping doesn't spill over to the bottom of your oven! It still tasted good, just lots to clean up : )
Coffee Cake
2cups Bisquick
2TBS sugar
2/3 C milk
1 egg
* Heat oven to 350
*Grease round pan 9 x 1 1/2"
*Mix ingredients except topping.(I usually add a scoop of brown sugar & a little cinnamon). Beat 30 second. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with topping.
*Streusel Topping
Mix 1/3C Bisquick baking mix, 1/3 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 2 TBS margarine until crumbly.
*Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 22 min. Serve warm.

And last but not least, let me brag on my new addition to my mixer.
I got the Beater Blade a while back and it is amazing! It scrapes the bowl as it mixes so that everything get mixed in. It really does a great job of getting everything on the sides and is super easy to clean. Just make sure you match the exact beater blade you're getting the model number of your mixer or it won't work right.

Many more recipes to come! I just got my first Real Simple of my subscription today and I've already found a few things to try.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's a small world after all...

So I know that everyone says that, but I feel that I have a story to really back it up.
During my freshman year at Baylor, living in Collins, I met a very sweet friend named Jenni. I practically lived in Jenni and Julie's room in the dorm.
Then, my sophomore and junior year, Jenni and I lived together in a wonderful apartment that resembled Taco Cabana on the outside. Due to our crazy leasing agency, we weren't able to live together out senior year.

Fast forward to right about the time of our wedding. Cody's sister, Lyndsey, starts dating this guy name Chris who just happens to be (wait for it)...Jenni's brother!! Now Jenni and I NEVER introduced them. Another friend who knew both of them did. Lyndsey and Chris got engaged this past November and are getting married in August. What a sweet couple! You can just tell how happy they make each other.
This past weekend they had a couples shower, which meant that I got to see my old roommate!! How fun! And so now my Baylor roommate and I will be "related" via my sister-in-law! Random! : )
Jenni and me

Cody, me, Jenni and Dave

with the Bride! : )

Friday, June 4, 2010

Catch of the day

On Monday, we headed down to Bolivar for a fishing/beach day with our friends, Scott and Ashley.
All four pups came along too! Miller and Ellie had a blast running in and out of the water and chasing each other! Abby seemed to enjoy herself too, but poor little Chloe hated it. She literally sat in someone's lap the entire time unless no one was sitting! I'm thinking that my attempts to put her in the ocean didn't help : )

The guys had a lot of luck fishing on Monday! They were fishing some in the surf and then set up some fishing poles also on the beach and were running the line out via our kayak.

This resulted in a lot of fish, but the most impressive were Red fish #1 that was 40+ inches

Red fish # 2 that was 40+ inches

And the shark that took an hour to reel in!!!! Crazy!

What a fun day! We'll definitely be going back to that fishing spot! May I also share that I am officially off contract for the summer! Woohoo!! (I will be on contract for summer school next week though, but its only for 19 days!) Happy Friday all!