Friday, February 19, 2010

Sadie

My mom has a new puppy...

Ladies and Gentlemen...let me introduce you to Her Royal Highness...Sadie!!


Please do not even try to say that you were able to control yourself from saying "Awwwwwww" when you saw this picture.....

Sadie is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel...or something like that...only thing I know for sure is that she is, hands down, a cutie patootie.






We're visiting my mom this weekend and Sadie just came home with my mom yesterday...she's the newest member of the family but you'd never know it the way she interacts with my children...In the picture above she is resting in my firstborn's lap while giving my youngest some sweet puppy kisses!  Not only is Sadie cute, but she is also a multitasker!





Here's Sadie with my middle child...Sadie is protecting herself from the harsh glow of the peppermint paparrazzi flash...

Better get used to that, Sadie gal!







But, Sadie forgave me for my flashes with more of her kisses...Sadie knows 2010 is the year of forgiveness :)  She's a smart little cutie patootie!







This was a little more sugar than I was prepared for...but it's all good...if you've ever smelled puppy breath, you know what I mean!







If I have not convinced you yet of Sadie's successful integration into our family, this picture should finally put any concerns to rest.  First of all, Sadie is on the couch...even adults are not allowed to bring drinks, food, etc. into my mom's den, much less on the couch. 

But, here's little Sadie...not only is she on the couch, but she's chewing on one of my mom's pillows!!   You can't see my mom in this picture, but she's giggling over to the side about how cute Sadie is!! 

My brother and I better watch out...next thing we know Sadie's pictures will replace ours!!  Yikes!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Monday

Whoa!  I'm way behind here!

Even though I haven't posted in a week or so about Menu Mondays, I have kept up with my commitment to cook more and to be more organized about dinner...I did find myself slipping back into that old rut of deciding on a daily basis this past week and I didn't like it one bit.  So, I'm back in the swing of things with a review of how the last two weeks went and the upcoming week's menu.

2 Mondays ago we had chicken and wild rice casserole as planned - family loved it and so did my work buddies the next day for lunch! 

2 Tuesdays ago was a BAD day, a no good, terrible, horrible very bad day...it was so bad that we had McDonalds for supper!!!!!  I'm so ashamed!

2 Wednesdays ago was Wednesday Night Supper at church as usual - thank HEAVEN for Wednesday Night Suppers!!  We had loaded baked potatos and salad...mmmmm

2 Thursday nights ago my middle child requested barbeque hamburgers instead of the planned barbeque chicken so I indulged her...she doesn't request very often...and this is a childhood favorite of mine and now hers since my mom introduced her to it a few months ago.

Friday we left for Birmingham for a Show Choir weekend and returned on SuperBowl Sunday...I walked in the door with suitcases in my hands.  The Head of the Household said, "We gonna have some supper?" so we had Dominos...

Note to all husbands...NEVER ask if "we gonna have some supper" when your wife is still carrying the luggage in from the car and you never answered your phone all weekend when the washing machine repairwoman was trying to get in touch with you.  NEVER EVER ask if "we gonna have some supper" when your wife is walking through the door thinking she is going to get to wash the mountain of laundry that she left which is now even bigger since we've been out of town all weekend. 

The Head of My Household is a pretty smart guy...he really is...why he chooses to make comments and ask questions such as these...and under these circumstances, I'll never be able to guess???

Last Monday we had chili (yummy) - I never make chili the same way twice...I really don't...does anybody?

Last Tuesday we had a recipe that I found a year or so ago in a Paula Deen quick recipes magazine...it's not really all that quick...but yummy just the same...it's called Italian Chicken Casserole

Wednesday - Hallelujah! Wednesday Night Supper and even better than that...it was Pot Luck!!! My absolute favorite!!

Thursday - Since the washing machine repairwoman had to come all the way to the house to find the serial number on my washing machine 2 days after she asked the Head of My Household to find it for her and he never did, I spent 3 hours of my life and $50 in quarters in the laundrymat tonight...Snow was on the way and my children had no clean underwear...nor any clothes!  I knew how many times my 5 year old was going to change clothes so I had to get some clean.  Panic was setting in as well about just how difficult the snow would make our lives...my pulse was racing with thoughts of no power, no heat, my children freezing and having to use dirty towels, etc. 

All that to say that we ate out at our favorite restaurant in town, Casedores...I ate almost an entire bowl of cheese dip by myself!!  I deserved it!

Friday we were snowed in (not really, but sorta...for Mississippi snow anyway :)  I cooked a late breakfast (eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits, link sausage) and Taco Soup for supper

Saturday I cooked breakfast again (pancakes, biscuits, strawberries and pineapple, pattie sausage, grits and oatmeal) and another family favorite for dinner, Fajita Tacos

Sunday - We ate in our school's cafeteria for lunch after church (we have made a habit out of this over the last several weeks) and we usually eat out with friends after evening church.  But, my firstborn had gone to a Mardi Gras parade in Pass Christian and had already eaten.  I had taken a 2 hr nap (Sunday afternoon naps are the greatest!!), had a snack when I woke up and wasn't that hungry, soooo the Head of the Household picked up McDonald's for the youngest, my middle child and himself (my stomach still hurts from the last time we ate there...McDonald's bleh!)

Whew!!  Now that I'm caught back up, I can focus on the week ahead...it's another short one because we have another Show Choir competition in Birmingham...I'm leaving Friday morning again so I can spend some time with my mommy...if my washing machine is not fixed (repaired) by then, I may not come back home  (just kidding...well, maybe not)

Monday - Soccer Banquet

Tuesday - PW's chicken pot pie

Wednesday - Glory Be!! Wednesday Night Supper...my women's circle is serving so I will have to cook but it will only be a dessert and some tea, not an entire meal...be fun to try something new!  I haven't decided what to fix yet.

Thursday - PW's comfort meatballs

Friday - on the road again...

PW's Potato Skins

I discovered Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond's, cookbook before I discovered her blog. 

I had BooksAMillion gift certificates from Christmas because everyone in my family knows just how much I love books.  After a leisurely stroll through the Brookwood Village BAM, I picked up PW's cookbook and was blown away by the photographs...not just because they are good photos...but because of how many photos there are.

I don't judge cookbooks by their covers; I judge them by the photos that show me not just what each step is but what each step is supposed to look like!  I'm a very visual person.  I need to see it.  Don't just tell me to chop up something into small chunks...show me how small those chunks are supposed to be and how best to chop it. 

I don't believe I have ever seen a cookbook like Ree's...as I flipped through the pages I realized that not only were there all these photos, but the recipes looked like things my family might even eat!  Ree writes about how her husband slipped out of  fancy schmancy reception one night to go to McDonald's!  That's my husband!!! And, my middle child!!  My firstborn is really the only one who is adventuresome when it comes to food.  My youngest is 5 so her tastes are just as varied...she leans toward adventurous but if the golden arches are within her sight, that's it.  I very seldom cook anything that all 5 members of our family enjoy.  Breakfast is one of those meals...but even then, it's really because I fix such a variety of food with breakfast.

I read Ree's cookbook from cover to cover that first night...that's when I realized that this fantastic mother of 4 who lives in the country had a blog as well!!  If you haven't explored Ree's Pioneer Woman blog, you should.  She's smart, funny, and an incredible cook!


One of the meals I make that all of my family likes is grilled hamburgers...I've been known to grill rain, sleet or shine...(btw, it's very difficult to keep the fire going in the rain)..I swap up the sides though, and one night a few weeks ago I wanted to do something a little different...that's where PW's Potato Skins come in:


First, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees.

Then I took 8 russet potatoes and cleaned them really well...one characteristic of potato skins is that you actually eat the skin so this step may be the most important one :)

I rubbed oil all over the potatoes before putting them on the baking sheet.

I have a tendency to overcook baked potatoes so I made sure to follow Ree's instructions of baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  You're going to scrape a lot of the insides out anyway so all that stuff in the middle doesn't have to be completely done.








Then, I fried some bacon...(8 slices)

Do you know how I feel about bacon?

I could probably be a vegetarian if it weren't for grilled hamburgers, filet mignon and bacon...

Microwaved bacon aggravates me...it just sticks to the paper towels and that's really annoying.
Nothing can ruin a good breakfast like having to pick little pieces of bacon off paper towels which are smothered in grease from the microwave...which is also smothered in grease...bleh!

I fried this bacon in a skillet, but another way I cook bacon is in the oven...my mom taught me this...it works really well and doesn't get everything so greasy. 

Have I mentioned I'm not a fan of grease everywhere?








The bacon turned out a little crispier than I normally like it, but it's going to be crumbled so it really needs to be a little crispy...







Here's PW's cookbook and my blackberry...2 of my favorite things :)

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the recipe...except if you don't have have PW's cookbook, you need to buy it!! Right now!!  Go get it!!






After the potatoes cooked, I cut them in half lengthwise.







Then, I scooped out the insides of the potatoes...not all of it...I left just a small amount of potato on the skins...

See, I'm saying "small amount" and you're thinking, "What the heck does that mean?" 
In the picture below you can see that I scooped out most of the middles...obviously that's where most of the potato is...Ree's photo is a lot cleaner than mine, but this was my first time...so I'm forgiven. :)

I brushed oil on the back and front of each of the potato skins.  (I actually didn't have a brush like Ree used so I just used a crumbled up paper towel and blotted the oil on the potatoes)

Then, I salted both sides of each potato skin.

I turned the potato skins upside down and put them back in the oven for 7 minutes.
After 7 minutes, I turned the skins back over and baked for another 7 minutes.






By this time in the process, I began to attract some attention.
The youngest and the firstborn were hungry, and they could smell something tasty in the oven.
They volunteered to help with some very liberal spreading of shredded cheddar cheese.

Please notice my youngest child's Spongebob Squarepants pajama bottoms...she would be very pleased if you did!






And more cheddar cheese...We are cheese lovers at our house...can you tell?? 

I would never say it aloud because if I did it would mean that my kids would never enter the kitchen again but I LOVE when they come in the kitchen and help...they don't ever ask to help really...I just say..."Hey, sprinkle that cheese on those taters, will ya'?"  They make mistakes sometimes, but hey, so do I! 

Have I mentioned that my firstborn (the child on the right in this photo) will be a SENIOR next year??  Have I mentioned that this is beginning to bother me??  It all started the day she came home with a note about senior portraits!!!!  I told her, "It's February!!! Bring me back this note in June...or July...or maybe sometime next year!!"  I can feel many posts coming on about my oldest child leaving me...

Were you confused about which one of the children in this photo is my firstborn??








I really think you can put as much or as little shredded cheddar cheese as you like - Ree's recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups - I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we used more ;)

Then, I took the bacon, which I crumbled while my cheese sprinklers were sprinkling, and put some on each potato skin right on top of the cheese...you can see the bacon in the clear bowl to the left of my youngest who by this time is simply eating the remainder of the shredded cheddar cheese.

Please also notice that my youngest is on top of the counter...oh, and just to clear things up, she's not in her pajamas because she's ready for bed...it's actually about 5-6 in the evening...she just likes to wear her pajamas!  I can see a life of leisure in her future...not sure what that means for me...her mother...who will never get to retire since I'm 41 and have a 5 yr. old.

After I finished putting the bacon on, I put the tray of potato skins back into the oven just so the cheese could melt. 





Holy Smokes!!

I put sour cream and green onions on some of the potato skins and only cheese and bacon on others.  Remember, my family is picky and has varied tastes so I wanted everyone to be able to eat a potato skin.
Ok, let me just tell you that these potato skins are the greatest!  There was not one left on this platter!!

My children wake up and call me blessed because of this recipe...not really, but it's certainly a step in the right direction!

Have I mentioned that I'm a Mississippi State University graduate...:)
Go DAWGS!










Sunday, February 14, 2010

Things I Love - Happy Valentine's Day!!

Several of the blogs I read used this writing prompt over the last couple of days so I thought I'd give it a shot!  Here goes:

the Head of My Household (duh)

my children

my mommy and daddy and my baby brother

Dove chocolates

"Classic" Lays potato chips

my Canon Rebel

cookbooks with lots and lots of pictures in them

double ovens

snow days as long as the power stays on

New York City

muscadine jelly

Mississippi State University Edam cheese

grits that have been cooked properly

Mike Anderson's New Orleans gumbo

old fashioned slow cooking oatmeal with a little sugar and milk

O'Carr's chicken salad

Birmingham, AL

Tiramisu at Brio's (in the little individual serving sizes)

Blue Plate mayonnaise

Sweet Home Alabama

Taos, NM

Destin, FL

home grown tomatos

Baby Boom

hot mint tea

O'Kafe's Calico Cat coffee

a washing machine that works

pewter

Sevin Winds Kitchen garlic dill pickles

naval oranges that don't have seeds

clementines

my great grandmother's chicken and dumplin's

The Family Man

my Cuisinart food processor

Gail Pittman coffee mugs

Heinz ketchup

Under the Tuscan Sun

The Family Stone

the Mitford series of books

Williams Sonoma

Diet A&W Root Beer

Talbots

chap stick of any kind (but especially those infused with peppermint or eucalyptus)

eucalyptus

magazines

books

Gymboree

cats

LeCrueset cookware

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

Sunday afternoon naps

Pot-Luck Suppers at church