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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Feeling Pregnant!

To me this is a GREAT thing. With my miscarriage I had VERY LITTLE symptoms of being pregnant. This time is the total opposite. I won't go into detail of all of my lovely symptoms, but I am happy to say they are the exact same things I experienced with Landon and so strong. This makes me so happy. I will gladly experience these symptoms over not being pregnant.

David and I were talking names last night. With Landon it was so easy for me to pick out a boy name and a girl name (even thought I was convinced Landon was a girl up until I stared at the ultrasound for forever and it proved me wrong). This time around I am leaning more towards boy names. Not to say that I wouldn't love a little girl, but I know what to expect with a little boy. Also, the Chinese Gender Chart says this one is a little boy as well. Check it out and let me know if it was right for you! I would love to get some feedback on this. Anyway...needless to say we have a long way to go until we NEED a name and we have a lot of discussions to have between now and then!

Smashed Potatoes

I got this wonderful idea from Pioneer Woman Cooks and adapted it to fit us.
Basically you take potatoes, boil them and then smash them. I put a thin layer of olive oil on the pan so they wouldn't stick. I then took a potato masher and smooshed the potatoes. I brushed a little bit of olive oil on top and added salt and pepper. I let them bake for about 30 minutes at 350F. After that I put some cheese on top and stuck them back in for a few minutes to let the cheese melt. We added sour cream later.
These turned out great! The above picture doesn't do them justice. They are a lot like baked potatoes only better! They have that little bit of crunch on the peel that is needed to make they oh so yummy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Creamy Lemon Bars

I made these for David for his birthday and they are wonderful!
20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold margarine
1 pkg cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pans; set aside. Combine wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar in medium bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and 2 Tbsp flour; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp of the lemon peel, lemon juice and baking powder; pour over crust.

Bake 25 to 28 min or until center is set. Cook completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with remaining grated lemon peel, if desired, just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taco Bake

1 pkg. Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare dinner as directed on package. While macaroni is cooking, brown meat; drain. Add taco seasoning mix and water to meat; simmer 5 min.

Stir sour cream into prepared dinner. Spoon half of the dinner mixture into 8-inch or 9-inch round baking dish; top with layers of the meat mixture, 2 cup of the cheese and remaining dinner mixture. cover.

Bake 15 min. Top with salsa and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, an addition 5 min or until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each

Jazz it up: For extra crunch, prepare and bake as directed, topping with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips along with the salsa and cheese.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sloppy Joes

(Sorry for the crushed bun, that's what you get when they were frozen)
I made them extra sloppy for ya! :)
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
ground pepper

Brown your ground beef along with onion and bell pepper. Once browned drain and return to pan. Add garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, and ground pepper. Heat well and simmer for however long you wish.

Wordless Wednesday

Check out more WW here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot Fruit Casserole

1 can sliced pineapple
1 can pears
1 can apricots
1 can sliced peaches
1 jar apple rings
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup juice from drained fruit

Layer fruit in buttered casserole, pineapple first, apple rings on top. Boil sugar, juice, and melted butter until it thickens, stirring frequently. Cool and then pour over fruit. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 250F 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

I couldn't find apple rings since they are considered "seasonal."

Southwestern Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 pound sliced cooked ham, cut into strips
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 baking potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red and green bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and chili powder; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

3. Spread half of the potatoes in the baking dish, top with half of the bell pepper mixture. Repeat layering once more. Cover with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the cheese, and bake until the cheese is lightly browned, about 10 minutes longer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Heaven on a Ritz

The real title for these wonderful things is:

Tres Gourmet: Quick, Sticky, Delicious “Marguerites”

This recipe was found on the Pioneer Woman-Cooking blog. I love this thing! She has some great ideas and this was one that I had the ingredients for in my pantry already. The only difference is that I used the small marshmallows and she used the big ones. Either way they turned out great. Landon LOVED them and wanted more after he ate 3!

Herb Cheese-Stuffed Shells

16 jumbo pasta shells
1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large egg, beaten
garlic powder
spaghetti sauce

1. Cook pasta shells according to directions and allow to cool.
2. Mix ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, parsley, oregano, basil, and garlic powder together.
3. Stuff mixture into cooled shells.
4. Place shells in greased pan and cover with spaghetti sauce.
5. Cover and cook at 350 for 30 minutes.

Pair this with breadsticks made from the pizza dough recipe posted a while back. Top with garlic butter and pair with a salad and you are ready for dinner!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Budding Artist

I bought supplies a while back for Landon to start doing some craft projects. We finally broke them out today. We did all of our crafts outside on the front porch in true redneck style with Landon's shirt off!

What's Up?

It's been a while since I just wrote out a post about random things that are going on. So here it goes....not sure what all this will contain or how long or short it will be.

The biggest thing that has happened lately is David changing offices. He is still doing the exact same thing as he was, but is about 15 minutes closer to home and got a significant pay raise. This came to us a a surprise. It is great that he is getting home a little earlier. It isn't that big in the morning, but in the evening his time with Landon is so short that each minute extra is great! We believe the pay raise was used as an incentive to get him to change was a nice incentive and will help us getting our 2nd mortgage gone quicker!

In other news...I have 2 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days left until I am done with my Master's! BIG WOOHOO!!! I like learning new things, but I am ready to give my brain a rest for a while. It feels like I have something to do all the time because of my Master's. I am looking forward to next school year when I can come home and not have to jump on the computer and do work. Of course, I will still be getting on the computer, just not to do my Master's!

We are still plugging along trying to have another baby. My patience is going down the drain quickly. I have so much patience when working with my kids; I just wish I had the same amount with this situation as well. I hope and pray everyday that we will have good news soon. I will keep you guys posted on this!

Landon's personality is showing itself more and more each day. I am amazed at what he does everyday. He keeps me entertained all the time with his "stories." We joined the reading club at the library and he enjoys going to the library and checking out new books each week. This is helping his attention span greatly. I try to find books that are a little bit longer than others so I can work on his attention.

I'm sure I will think of more to blog about later. I have something new planned for dinner and I will post about it later. I have also been playing around with my camera and trying new tricks with it. I hope to have some good pictures to share next Wordless Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Reading

Since it is the summer I have decided to do some luxury reading as I would like to call it. During the school year I really only have time to read what I am required to read for my Master's. Now that I have a little more time on my hands I am doing more reading for me. I just got done reading this book:
It was WONDERFUL! I wasn't sure I would like it at first since it deals with history, but it had a twist to it that did not let me put it down. It is a 661 page book and I read it in 3 days. That is pretty good considering I still am working on my Master's and have a 2 1/2 year old running around! The best thing is that this book is also a movie. Thanks to Netflix David and I will be watching it tonight. I cannot wait to compare it to the book.

I just picked these two up from the library:

The above book is about a 20 something year old man how has Asperger's (high functioning Autism). From what I have skimmed, it seems he is a math genius. I am ready to read it and get into his mind!The Constant Princess is written by the same author as The Other Boleyn Girl so I know it should be good. I believe it is about Queen Katherine (King Henry VIII's first wife who he divorced).

I am not sure which I will read first but I am excited about them both!

Wordless Wednesday

Check out more WW here and here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Potatoes and Onions

Of course these were good...who can go wrong with potatoes and onions?
Potatoes, cut into chunks
Onions, sliced
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese, canned

Cut up potatoes and place in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Slice onions and add to the top of potatoes. Pat or squeeze butter on top of onions. Cover dish with foil and cook for 1 hour.

Vegetable Casserole

This was okay...I used the wrong kind of soup (which is why it is orange) so it had a really strong taste. It would have been better had I used the kind of soup the recipe called for.
2 cans Veg-All
1 cup grated cheese
1 can water chestnuts (I didn't put these in)
1 stick margarine, melted (I used the spray butter and just coated the top with it)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used golden mushroom..BIG mistake)
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 packages Ritz crackers, crushed (I used much less....maybe 1/2 pack)

Mix all ingredients together except margarine and Ritz crackers. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle crackers on top. Pour melted margarine over crackers. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Poppyseed Chicken

This was delish!
2 cups cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups sour cream
8 oz. crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
1 Tbsp. poppyseeds

1. Melt butter and add crushed crackers and poppyseeds to make a topping.
2. Mix chopped chicken, soup, and sour cream in a bowl.
3. Add 1/2 of the topping mix and put it in a baking dish.
4. Top with remaining topping mix.
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Our Mini-Vacation

Wonder where we have been? We left on Thursday and headed up to Asheboro, NC to go to the North Carolina Zoo. We had a blast there. We spent the night Thursday and got up early Friday and headed to the zoo before heading home. Here are some pictures with captions highlighting some of the fun we had:
Here is one of the many alligators we saw shortly after getting to the zoo. There were probably about 8 of these suckers in the water right under our feet! They were being fed when we got there and I am thankful they liked chicken and fish rather than us!
Next we saw the big tortoise. Landon looks for the big tortoise at every zoo we go to. He LOVES watching these even though they do very little.
In the children's section they had a huge wall with chalkboard paint on it for kids to draw on. Landon liked the paintbrushes they had to clean the board off with when done.
This polar bear was so cool! It has been a long time since David and I had seen a polar bear in real life. This polar bear was actually rescued from a Mexican circus and brought to the NC zoo.
Next were the seal lions. Landon wasn't so sure about them.
I am so surprised we got this shot! Landon rarely wants to get near statue type things but he let us take a picture next to the big buffalo!
Here's a real buffalo. I am guessing he looks so bad because he was shedding his hot fur.
Here's an Ocelot. It was right next to the glass and just sat and watched us.
Here's a turtle enjoying lunch!
Here's Landon on the carousel. He was not a happy camper at all. I could tell when they were about to come back around because I could hear Landon's crying.
Don't worry about the bad carousel experience, Landon got his first taste of cotton candy right after the carousel ride.
Here's Landon next to a mini-statue of a turtle. This is as close as we could get! :)
Chicken Little actually got in a helicopter! He did it all himself as well. I was shocked, but he liked it. Excuse the nasty look of was HOT at this point and we were very tired from walking.
In the parking lot there were ton of geese. Here is one goose that came right up to our car looking for food. These things were swarming all over the parking lot.

Homemade Pizza

My bread machine has so many uses! This time we made pizza crust from scratch instead of going out and ordering pizza. It was so good too!

1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
7/8-1 cup water
2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil

Put ingredients in bread machine and select dough option.
Put dough on greased pizza pan, top with toppings and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 400 F.

It helps to have a good helper like Landon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hawaiian Quesadillas

The ingredients:
4 flour tortillas
2 teaspoons fat-free mayonnaise
3 oz thickly sliced cooked ham, cut into strips
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese (1 oz)
1. Spread tortillas with 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise.
2. Top with ham.

3. Top with green bell pepper.
4. Top with pineapple.

5. Top with cheese.

6. Put tortilla on top and bake on 350 until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).
Nutritional Info:
Calories: 390
Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 940 mg
Carbohydrate: 57 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 18 g
Protein: 19 g

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Paula Deen's Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

All I can say is yum!
One 6-ounce package long-grain and wild rice, cooked according to directions
4 cups diced cooked chicken breast
Two 10 3/4 ounce cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
One 8-ounce package cornbread dressing mix
1/4 cup (1/2) stick butter

Put the rice in a greased 2-quart casserole. Layer the chicken on top of the rice. Mix the soup, mayonnaise, and curry powder, and pour this over the chicken. Sprinkle the dressing mix over the casserole and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

This was great. I think next time I am going to cut the amount of "sauce" in half using 1 can cream of chicken soup and 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used miracle whip). I also used crushed red pepper instead of curry powder.