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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Elle!

I can't believe I have a 3 year old!! What a fun year of changes for this little one! She got a new house, a new brother, a new van, learned words like "otherwise" and "actually". She can count to 14 without error and with a couple of flubbs all the way up to 30! She's got her ABC's down, although there are times when T-U-V are not included... She has learned her colors and has enjoyed lableing things with her sticker letters. Christian has a C on his walker, Michael has an M on his work boot, I often have S's on my jeans and even the dog endures the hair pulling privledge of having an O on his 'coat'. Her manipulation and debate skills improve daily keeping me on my toes. She is one smart cookie! She learned to swim (with a life jacket on), learned to ride a bike with training wheels and loved climbing ladders at our construction site. She is one active little girl! Her birthday chicks arrive after the weekend, she is so excited!
Happy birthday my little firefly!

Quiche recipe

Another great one from Cindy... who got it from another friend! I made this last night for dinner... yummy!

2 Cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C Olive oil (or any kind you like to use)
1/4 Cup Milk

Roll out between parchment paper to fit pie pan
bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
take out and cool while turning oven down to 350 degrees

3 Eggs
1 Cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Add ins: (you can pretty much add whatever...here's what I did for dinner last night)
1 Cup cheese
1 Cup Bacon (I pre-cooked mine, because I like it crunchy)
1 Cup diced ham
(Mushrooms are great too, and I hear spinich is a healthy add in as well...)

Mix all together and pour into crust
Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes (middle might still be a little gooey)
let it cool to set.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Why isn't Michael in the band?"

We get asked that question a lot. (Michael's 4 brothers are in a band...see their video on this blog under 'fun times' or at shoemakerbrothers.com) So I thought I would share a little story to answer the question publicly... =)
We have many "dance parties" in our home. We crank the music up and Elle and I in particular love to just let it all out singing and dancing (not sure if I can even really call it dancing... I feel a twinge of guilt that I am decieving you.... picture running, flailing and jumping rather than coordinated and rythmical...)... So Saturday we were having one of our "dance parties" and Michael came in and started singing- just BELTING it all out and Elle started to nearly PANIC yelling (nearly crying really) "No dada, stop! You're scareing my ears!!!" So there you have it... THAT is why Michael is not in the band. =)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

2 hours and $20

12 individually wrapped bean burritos (beans, spices, rice, cheese), 5 loafs of bread (1 banana, 4 white), and a batch of biscotti... this is what I cooked/baked today for about $20 in 2 hours time. (plus another hour of bake time on the bread... but that wasn't "active" time) I have been wanting to do more "bulk cooking" and freeze things so that they are ready quickly and still healthy to eat. Michael's work schedule is super inconsistent so it is hard to plan when to start dinner, if he'll even be home for dinner, etc.. so this is a great way to have things ready to just heat up when he does get home. I won't lie, I was REALLY working for these 2 hours... I had to put Christian down for a nap, bunndle Elle up to go outside, and then de-bundle when she came in and made her and Michael lunch at the same time I was making all of these items...but come on...ONLY 2 hours!!! All of the dishes were done, things put away, etc... all in the 2 hours! I thought I'd share the recipes and the order that worked well for me... I do have a double oven, so that helped make it possible... if you don't have a double or a wall oven... you will be waiting for things to get done before you can move on.

Bean Burittos ( I got a recipe from Cindy and changed it a bit based on what we had...here's how I did it..)
*2 Cups Rice (I had about a Cup left over which we'll have with our chicken dinner tomorrow..or I could have put more in the burittos...) *2 Tablespoons Olive Oil * 1/2 large oninon chopped up *6 garlic cloves diced *1/2 teaspoon Cumin *1/2 teaspoon salt *1/2 teaspoon pepper * 1/2 Cup tomato sauce *3 cans (15oz) Pinto beans drained/rinsed * 1 bag of frozen corn (10oz) *12 burrito size tortillas *2 Cups grated medium cheddar cheese *1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder *1/2 teaspoon Cayene Pepper *1 Cup water
Cook Rice
Heat oil in large saucepan over med heat. Add Onions, garlic, chili powder Cayenne pepper, Cumin and Salt and Pepper. Cook Stirring occasionally. (10-12 min) Add Tomato paste (1 min)
Add Beans and 1 Cup water, bring to boil, turn down to med simmer, stir occationally until thickened. (10-12min) Add Corn (2-3 min)
I took wax paper and put the tortilla on it, scooped beans onto it, then some rice, then some cheese, wrapped it up, fliped it over to keep it from opening and then wrapped the wax paper around it and put about 6 per freezer ziplock bag.
I did these with the purpose of freezing them for Michael to take for his lunches, or to just grab and zap in the microwave for a quick meal. They're also great to just have right then, hot! =)
Once frozen it takes about 2-3 minutes in the microwave to heat them up, or you can put them in foil and  place in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30-45 min.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscotti (another altered recipe from Cindy!)
1 3/4 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cup dried tart cherries
3/4 Cup blanched Almonds
3 large eggs plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Oven racks in upper 1/3 of oven and lower 1/3 oven *Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper *In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until mixed well. Add Cherries and almonds and distribute. *In another bowl whisk together the whole eggs, egg white, and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingrediants. *Using a fork mix them together working all of the dry into the dough.... dough will be dense and STICKY! Divide in half. *Shape dough into flattened logs 12"x2 1/2" by 1" thick. Bake the logs  (325 degrees) until they are dry to the touch and firm in the center when pressed with fingers. (about 30 min) *Transfer to wire racks and cool for 30 min on pans.Transfer to cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise on diagonal into 1/2" pieces. Arrange slices cut side down back on the parchement paper/baking sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool COMPLETELY store in airtight container at room temp. for up to 3 weeks. (original recipe called for flipping them and cooking them again for another 10-15 minutes on the other side... I did this the first time I made them and they burned a little and were not good... this time I just did the one side and they are PERFECT! So you may have to judge your oven... since they are dark brown from the cocoa...it's hard to tell if they are burnt until it's too late!) These taste great with coffee, tea or just by themself. My 2 year old LOVES them!

I am not going to post the banana bread recipe until I try it. But I worked on it while the biscotti was in the oven. I froze the loaf, so after we eat it, I'll post it if I loved it! =) I made the 4 loaves of white bread last. It was quick to throw the ingrediants together, but it needed rise time so while the other items occupied the oven, this was rising. I made were a bunch of ingrediants I didn't measure, just "estimated" so I'm sorry I don't really have one to share..! =)
A fun, productive afternoon!