Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's a House party!

A while back I joined this site
What an awesome site, you apply to host parties and if you are chosen to host they send you a free party pack to make the party happen!
Well imagine my children's joy, happiness and utter excitement when they found out we were getting to have a cartoon network, star wars The clone wars party! Oh they have been ecstatic for weeks. And weeks ago I got our party pack, That was hard keeping hidden, It contained a light saber, an awesome plastic sculpted mask, lots of paper masks (that are really quite sturdy), balloons, glow sticks, posters, temporary tattoos, and stickers. Oh and a reusable tote bag with yoda on it, and the DVD with the first episode of The new cartoon network show Star Wars the Clone wars. Last night our party happened!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ravioli part 2

yay for movie night!!
And now onto the food!!!

... I made a mistake when I stacked up the ravioli's...I should have put them out on a cookie sheet in the fridge..Some of the noodles got a little gummy...and stuck to the others...Then I tried to take them apart...some of them ripped...well than I just said forget it...and plopped the pile of them stuck together in the pot of boiling water.. The ones that were stuck came apart while they were more tearing time I'm just throwing them in the pot!
OK so first you want to boil the ravioli's for about 10 min.
then drain...notice the pieces of ground beef, from the noodle i ripped open LOL
Then put back in the pot and add the extra meat from making the ravioli's and the rest of the jar of spaghetti sauce, let heat through
Then serve and enjoy! We topped ours with some mozzarella cheese. It was a very good meal That we all enjoyed...except for Alex... yeah he complained all through dinner...figures hehe
here is my 2 year old's plate


Here is step by step what I have done so far in making ravioli.... The first step was making the noodles. (to make them I used 2 eggs 4 tbs. milk 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. salt.) Mixed all until you have a soft dough, then separate into 4 equal portions like this...

Take one portion at a time, and roll out a bit and then flatten slightly on a well floured surface. I use silicone baking mat, I love them!
Then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough as flat as you can make it...
Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dough. Now before cutting you want to let the dough rest and dry a little bit. so set it aside (I put mine in the oven so they were out of the way). Now assemble the ingredients for the filling.

Ground beef, Parmesan cheese, spaghetti sauce, garlic salt and garlic pepper...I wanted to use real garlic..but I was out, so I had to improvise.
I browned the ground beef with a good helping of both the garlic salt and pepper, I just sprinkled it on until it smelled good. Drain the ground beef and add back to the pot. Then I didn't want to add dry meat to the ravioli so I mixed 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 a cup of sauce, it made sort of a thick paste...
I let the meat cool for a bit and began cutting the noodles.
Then I added about about 2 teaspoons of the meat to the middle of one of the noodles
Yeah they are a little big that's OK!
Then add another noodle to the top and pinch closed
Then just to make sure they were shut (and to make them look pretty) I pressed the edges with a fork.
and now so you can see how big they are..
Yeah they are BIG...That's OK though...I can't wait to try them :) Here they are all assembled...
and the leftover meat that I will add to the sauce tonight
Well I will update after dinner!

more food

Yes more food, I really like food, I like to create something everyone loves. I like to play with flavors. I live to eat.. not eat to live. I like the way things come together to create new flavors. I spend A lot of time cooking, probably because I have 4 hungry kiddos that are constantly eating. And the kitchen it my area, my sanctuary if you will...
Lately I have become obsessed with making noodles...HAHA, since I posted about the chicken and dumplings I have made noodles every day...The day before last we had a fettuccine Alfredo with sausage, bacon, and random spices thrown in
With it we had twice baked sweet potatoes...recipe here
minus the walnuts, I didn't have any.. and I sprinkled cinnamon sugar over the top before I baked them...They were soooo good.
Yesterday we had fettuccine again, this time in a creamy garlic Parmesan sauce... Along with salads and crash hot potatoes Ala pioneer woman
And dinner was good.. (sorry no pics LOL)
Tonight we are having homemade ravioli, probably with salad again... and because I have been inspired by pioneer woman.. In a moment I will have a post showing how I made the ravioli and I will update tonight when they are finished!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

chicken and dumplings

one word.. Yumm
I am so happy that I tried my hand at making noodles...They really only took about 5 seconds of my time and they tasted soooooo good...much better than anything I could have bought...and they were pretty darn close to what I get at cracker barrel!
Here are the potatoes and carrots cooking in the broth...
now the noodles ...just before adding them to the pot...
everything cooked, and making my house smell awesome :)
oh yum...Now go and try is easy I promise!!!

Whats for dinner tonight???

Yesterday I was browsing around the net trying to find something I could make for dinner tonight...I wasn't having much luck until I came across this recipe...

Homemade noodles....I looked at it...Then moved on...Then I came back to it and looked again....I noticed the picture kind of reminded me of the dumplings, in chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel...I have an odd fascination / love for Cracker Barrel's chicken and dumplings yummmmm. So I decided chicken and dumplings is what we are eating...Then searching for a chicken and dumpling recipe left me annoyed... Nothing seemed right (or included what we had had...tomorrow is grocery store day LOL). So I am making it up as I go today. At lunch time I threw the 2 split chicken breasts I had in a pot, covered with water added a diced carrot, some Montreal steak seasoning, parsley, oregano, and celery seed from my spice rack...(yeah out of celery too).. Boiled together for about 45 min., pulled out the chicken, pulled it of the bone and cut it up into bite sized pieces. The broth is now in the fridge, when i get home from getting the boys I am going to set it up to simmer, add a can of cream of chicken soup, I have 3 carrots and 4 potatoes peeled and diced waiting to be thrown in the pot. Then the noodles and chicken will be added for the last few minutes (they are made and drying in the oven)....I can't wait to see how dinner turns out!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I love baking.

I do I love experimenting and I love the results, usually :). I love watching things cook in the oven, I love playing with my kiddos and having them help me whip up something yummy.
Baking is something I do to relieve stress, for some reason it just makes me happy.
Today I decided I was in the mood to bake something ...So I made another batch of my homemade outback steak house bread....(not my personal recipe, I used google to find it)
oh and I do NOT use the food coloring

Outback Steakhouse Bushman Bread

3½ hours 3 hours prep

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 cups bread flour
1 2/3 cups wheat flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1/4 cup water
75 drops red food coloring
45 drops blue food coloring
30 drops yellow food coloring
cornmeal, for dusting


Combine the flours, cocoa, sugar, coffee and salt in large bowl. I get better results if i do this, even with the bread machine!

Make a depression or"well" in the middle of the dry mixture.

Pour the warm water into this"well," then add the butter, honey and yeast.

Combine the food coloring drops with ¼ cup of water and add that to the"well.

"Slowly mix the ingredients with a spoon, drawing the dry ingredients into the wet.

When you can handle the dough, begin to combine it by hand, kneading the dough thoroughly for at least ten minutes, until it is very smooth and has a consistent color.

Set the dough into a covered bowl in a warm place for an hour, to allow it to rise.

When the dough has risen to about double in size, punch it down and divide it into 8 even portions.

Form the portions into tubular shaped loaves about 8" long and 2" wide.

Sprinkle the entire surface of the loaves with cornmeal and place them on a cookie sheet, or two.

Cover the cookie sheet (s) with plastic wrap and let the dough rise once more for another hour in a warm location.

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees F.

Uncover the dough and bake it for 20-24 minutes in the hot oven.

Loaves should begin to darken slightly on top when done.

Serve warm with a sharp bread knife and butter on the side.

If you want whipped butter, like you get at the restaurant, just use an electric mixer on high speed to whip some butter until it's fluffy.

yummm This bread is soooo good, (this is my 4th time making it this week)

Then i decided I have all this wheat flour...why not make some graham crackers...
so found this recipe....
(btw i needed half a cup of milk, and i sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar before baking )
and here are the results....

these are wonderful, I will have a hard time ever buying graham crackers again...they will make an awesome morning snack for the boys at school with some peanut butter and applesauce... Yum :)

And now for Saturday!

Saturday was a good day, we got the living room and kitchen picked up, did load after load of laundry. And then my little brother came over!! He came to wish Alex a happy birthday, he had a enormous gift for him. And he stayed for dinner with us. Oh and he stayed to watch lady and the tramp with Brianna ;)
Ok well the gift...It is HUGE....I'm not sure where it is going to live, for now it is taking up half my living room...but it is fun :)

Check it out
And the kids have had a BLAST with it, (And so have Steve and I LOL). Lets see and for dinner we had Steak, twice baked potatoes, broccoli, and I found a recipe that is supposed to taste like the bread you get at outback steak house, it is good and we had that too. So yesterday was fun.. and right now Nathaniel is still snoozing, the girls are watching Clifford and Alex is playing game boy. Ready for a lazy Sunday!

Friday was um...

Well it was interesting. I got to the school to pick up the kids, and was met by Alex who was sobbing, choking on his words, and just so upset that he literally almost threw up. Come to find out, his class was having issues, they were talkative and not following directions. (The parent here wants to say Yes of course they are 5 and 6, what exactly do you want??) Well according to the paper that was sent home because of this they did not get ice cream on Friday. Now They only get ice cream once a week, So this is a really big thing to most students, especially kindergartner's. Add to that and Friday was Alex's birthday, and That just makes it 3 times as bad (at least in the eyes of Alex). So I am trying to bite my tongue...I can't say I agree with the teachers decision, her punishment, but I wasn't there in class I don't "know" what happened exactly... So we shall see how it goes from here.
Well after Calming him down we went to play on the playground, Where I planned on taking tons of pictures but as soon as I took just one or two pictures of each of the kiddos the batteries in my Camera died....

happy Birthday buddy.

Yup Caitlynn walks up steps now...
run and play!!!
He is looking at something.... Your guess is as good as mine.

Helpppp the big blue tube is eating me!!!!

Then we left to late in the afternoon, went home and made dinner, Opened presents, ate cupcakes, and played with toys... It was an OK afternoon...not sure about the beginning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday dear Alex

Well today is the day, my baby boy is officially 6 years old today! All he wanted for his birthday is a pokeball cake. well I made cup cakes yesterday...
I think they turned out pretty good. After school today I am going to bring some to share with our friends while we play at the playground. Then for dinner we are having roasted chicken legs and broccoli. When daddy gets home from work we are doing dessert, and presents and having movie night. We should be getting our movies from netflix today.. Star Wars episode II, I hope it gets here. He is going to be sooo excited!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The museum

Ok I know I promised this days ago...but well hubby is sick and happens.
Well here are some pics of our trip to the museum

First up was the giraffe, Now this was apparently one of only 2 animals Brianna wanted to see at the zoo...(the other was turtles)...Call me a bad mom for not knowing...But I didn't even know she liked giraffes that much.... hmmmm

Then we continued our journey through the hall of mammals... it was very cool
And then The part of the hall of mammals That only my kiddos could get excited about.... They also saw these animals at the zoo and were absolutely mesmerized...
Yes folks it is of the few animals we can see in our back yard... lol.
and continuing through the museum... To the part every one was super excited to see...
Dinosaurs!!! Of all the things that will bring children of all ages together, It is dinosaurs! Especially when this is the first thing you see.....
Then there where tons of awesome fossils you could feel, look closely at... and so on and so forth
And a huge lava rock
and a super cool mural on the wall That I wanted to get all the kids pictures in front of it...but they were done cooperating then LOL
and now so you don't think we just left her on the metro or is little Miss Caitlynn...