Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So much for a tree picture

Colin likes our tree. He points and yells "ball" at all the ornaments. We are working on "look but don't touch." If I am in the kitchen and I hear "ball! ball! ball! ball!" I know he is about to grab one off the tree.

Getting a picture of him in front of the tree is proving to be an impossible task. See below.

The best shot I got, and you can't see the tree!

And he's done.

Playing with the Nativity now. He will bring you Baby Jesus is you ask.

Maybe I can photo shop him into this picture with my tree.

Got Leftovers?

I am sure many of us still have leftovers from Thanksgiving. Since my parents went on a 2 week cruise right after Thanksgiving, I got to take home all the left over turkey. And now I need to find something to do with it.

I considered a leftover turkey sandwich like Ross (you know...with Monica's "Moistmaker" turkey sandwich). But since I don't like gravy, having a sandwich with a piece of bread in the middle soaked in gravy didn't sound good at all.

So tonight we will be using the turkey in the Chicken Tetrazzini recipe I posted yesterday.

For tomorrow's lunch I will be trying something my mom suggested using Pillsbury crescent rolls. Fill each crescent roll with turkey, some cranberry sauce, and a little shredded Monterrey Jack and Colby cheese. Roll up and bake as directed on the crescent roll package.

What do with your leftover turkey?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

8oz spaghetti
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked chicken (canned, leftover, boiled, whatever you have)

Cook spaghetti.

Combine all other ingredients.

Mix all together when spaghetti is cooked. Bake in greased 9x9 dish for 15 minutes at 400°.

Weight Watchers

They changed up their Points System, Instead of calculating points on Calories, Fat, and Fiber they have revamped the system and are now calculating it on Fat, Carbs, Protein, and Fiber.

No big deal, except any recipe that I previously posted and told you the Points Value to I will have to go back and recalculate. Just giving anyone that uses that info a heads up. I will update those as soon as I get a chance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Boil Lasagna

9 lasanga noodles, uncooked
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella, cheese, divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 1/2 cups (52 oz) pasta sauce
1 lb cooked pork sausage
1 tsp parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350.

In medium bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs; mix well.

In a separate bowl, add browned meat to pasta sauce; mix well.

Spread 1 cup of meat-sauce mixture in a 9x13 pan.

Place 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread 1/2 the cheese mixture over noodles, top with 1/3 of meat-sauce mixture.

Repeat layer. Top with remaining noddles and meat-sauce mixture.

Cover with foil. Bake 55 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with reserved mozzarella cheese and parsley flakes.

Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Leftover Lasagna
Monday: Daddy is out of town - Burger Night with Uncle Will!
Tuesday: Easy Chicken Tetrazzini
Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets and Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Chicken & Roated Garlic Risotto (new recipe - if it is any good a recipe post will follow)
Saturday: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

This will be my first time making this recipe. It sounds good and easy enough so I am trying it out for Thanksgiving. It is from the Kraft Food & Family magazine.

1 pkg (2 layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
⅓ cup oil
3 eggs
¾ chopped walnuts
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup thawed Cool Whip

Heat oven to 350°.

Beat cake mix, water, pumpkin, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with mixer for 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a small owl with mixer until well blended. Add Cook Whip; mix well. Spread over cake.

Store frosted cake in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Haul out the holly....

We are just days away from officially starting to decorate for Christmas. At the same time, you get to look forward to all the festive mail and holiday greetings with pictures of your family and friends and oh-so-cute kiddos.

I, like Emily, have been thinking about our Christmas cards. Once that tree goes up (Friday!) I can begin to work on my Christmas Cards. With so many cute designs and styles to choose from, you have to start early or you will never make up your mind in time to get those out to your loved ones.

I have been looking through many of Shutterfly's Christmas Card designs and I just can't choose. A couple that caught my eye?

Peppermint Giftwrap

Pretty Poinsetta

Now I just need to get Colin and the dog to work with me to create a cute picture. Good thing they have some choices with spots for multiple photos in case they photograph better apart then together. =)

Don't send Christmas Cards? They offer many other photo products that are sure to please you. Are you doing digital scrapbooking like me? This is a great place to put together a scrapbook of the past year! Need a gift? How about a photo calendar or photo mug (which was a hit for Father's Day!)? Be creative!

If you are a blogger and are interested in getting 50 FREE CHRISTMAS CARDS click here to get the details at Shutterfly.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Beef and Cheese Foldover (but with ground turkey)
Monday: Pulled Pork on Sister Shubert Rolls, Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Wednesday: Leftovers or Pizza Night
Thursday: Turkey Day! My contribution: Green Bean Casserole & Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Friday: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Saturday: Homemade Lasagna

Friday, November 19, 2010

Serving of Fruit

I am always looking for creative ways to get Colin to eat "good stuff." When I think he likes something, he changes his mind the next day. As you will see below, Colin is getting a serving of fruit:

This is a Buddy Fruits. I had seen them at Publix for a while and just decided to give them a try. He loves them. He was had 4 in the past 2 days. It is purely blended fruit and each packet is equal to a serving of fruit. They do not have to be refrigerated so you can even keep a spare in your purse or diaper bag. He may tire of them soon enough, but for now, this is one way I am sure he is getting an entire serving of fruit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Music: The Good and The Embarrassing

Emily's comment on  my previous Christmas related post made me think of this. Every year you pull out your Christmas Music and pop it in the CD player (or plug up your iPod depending on what you have) to help get you in the Christmas spirit.

What are your favorite Christmas CD's or downloads. And more importantly - what are the CD's or songs you love to listen to but are a little embarrassing to admit.

Me? I love the Charlie Brown Christmas CD, Straight No Chaser (just heard it for the first time last year!), and hopefully this year I will add the GLEE Christmas CD (I just found out about it two days ago). I also just bought the new Lady A Christmas CD and hope it is good. And I have some old school Amy Grant and Micheal W Smith.

My embarrassing? Well, I love to put in the Jessica Simpson Christmas CD, there are one or two Hanson Christmas songs I like, and also a couple N'Sync Christmas songs downloaded.

And how about yourself...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mexican Crockpot Chicken

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Burrito sized tortillas
Mexican Cheese
Sour Cream

Combine chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, and black beans in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Before serving, shred chicken in the juices and stir.
Serve hot in the tortilla shells with your favorite taco/burrito fixings.

Points Plus: 4 pts per serving (just for the crock pot mixture. This doesn't include the points that the tortillas and topping contribute). This makes about 6 servings.

Taco Seasoning

We make our own taco seasoning to cut out all the extra salt. Here is the recipe we use.

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine and store in airtight container.

Mexican Layer Dip

Can of Frito’s Bean Dip
7 oz pkg guacamole
7 ounces sour cream
1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
green onions, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
black olives, chopped

Combine sour cream and taco seasoning.

On a dish layer bean dip, guacamole, sour cream mixture, and shredded cheese (in that order).

Top with the chopped green onion, tomatoes, and black olives. Refrigerate for a couple hours and serve with chips.

**I use a disposable 8 inch cake pan for this. It keeps all the layers closed in on the side and so you don't risk the guacamole peeking out and browning**

Holiday Traditions

Andrew and I have started discussing what traditions we want to call ours each Christmas. I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss and share since it is right around the corner!

What we want to call "ours":
  • Everyone opens a gift Christmas Eve containing new Christmas PJs to wear that night (I am not big into ornaments, so PJs it is!). I already bought this year's PJs and I can't wait to see the little man sporting his!
  • An afternoon of making and baking Christmas cookies - more my thing that Andrew's but he benefits!
  • Leaving cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer
  • At least one Christmas activity like "ICE" or visiting Opryland Hotel or a Christmas show as Colin gets older
  • We have to watch Christmas Vacation every year and we usually throw in Just Friends for even more laughs. And even if it is by myself, I will watch all 3 of The Santa Clause movies.
  • Fresh, hot, homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (this one is one my Mom does and I love it)
  • And of course, reading the Christmas Story
What does your family do every year or what are you going to start doing?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple-Streusel Muffins

I found this recipe in an old Fitness Magazine this weekend. The only ingredient I had trouble finding was the apple pie spice. I ended up using cinnamon, but I will keep looking for the apple pie spice and try this recipe again. I think I over mixed the batter because they were a little dense and I forgot to spray the muffin liner with non-stick spray. I like the flavor so I am going to try them again this week or next while the buttermilk I bought is still good and see if I get better results when I fix the above mentioned things.

I remade these using the apple pie spice (found it at the Smyrna Publix) and didn't use any paper muffin cups. I just used a little Crisco on the muffin tins themselves. They are perfect. I ate one for breakfast and I froze 8 of them. Hopefully they thaw out well for a quick breakfast. The Weight Watcher calculator gives them a points value of 3.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp apple pie spice
¼ tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp canola oil
¾ cup shredded apple with skin
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly coat twelve 2½-inch muffin cups with cooking spray.; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, ⅓ cup brown sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork; stir in buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture all at one to flour mixture; stir until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold i apple. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way.

In a small bowl, combine pecans, flaxseeds, and remaining brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon pecan mixture on top of muffin batter.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove from cups.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Smashed Red Potatoes

2 pounds red potatoes (cut into equal-size chunks)
water (enough to cover)
2 Tbls roasted garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbls butter

Combine potatoes, water, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Boil 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Allow 5 minutes stand time, in warm pan, for fluffier potatoes. Blend in milk and butter using electric mixer or potato masher.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Lunch - Turkey Burgers and Smashed Red Potatoes; Dinner out at Otter's Chicken
Monday: Turkey Meatballs (previously made and in the freezer - thaw, heat, and serve!), Pasta, Veggie, and Bread
Tuesday: Mexican Crockpot Chicken, Mexican Dip, and Blue Corn Chips
Wednesday: Leftover Mexican Crockpot Chicken
Thursday: White Chicken Chili
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Ravioli Bake, Veggie, and Bread

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bring Boo Home: Fundraiser!

Help the Overstreet family bring home their second son, nicknamed Boo! Kathleen at Little Hipsters Apparel is giving all the proceeds from the sales of the first 10 "girl" dresses and first 10 "boy" shirts to the adoption fund. To purchase one of these item, head over to the Little Hipsters Apparel Fan Page on Facebook and follow the directions under each item to make your order.

To learn more about the Overstreet family, how he go the nickname Boo, and what is given name is, make your way over to The Adventures of Bubba and Boo and read their story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These are great cookies for the holiday season because of the color combination from the cranberries and white chocolate.

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Using and electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken

1 large naval orange
¼ cup Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite/size pieces
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

Grate 1 tsp zest from orange. Use small sharp knife to cut remaining peel and white pith from orange; cut orange into bite-sized pieces. Mix zest, dressing, soy sauce, sugar, and crushed pepper.

Cook chicken in nonstick skillet on high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add red pepper; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to bowl; cover to keep warm.

Add dressing mixture to skillet; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in oranges; spoon onto platter.

Serve with hot cooked rice.

The recipe builder for my Weight Watchers PointsPlus gives this 5 pts per serving (this serves 4). And that is without rice.

Edit: I made this again last night (12/7/10) because it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I cut the crushed red pepper in half (it was a little too spicy for me) and instead of using the orange chunks we used pineapple chunks. I still used the orange zest. It was more of a citrus chicken instead of orange chicken.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Easy French Onion Soup

My mom makes the best French Onion Soup. I don't make hers, though, because it uses beef broth and Andrew doesn't eat beef. So I found an easier way to make it and without beef broth.

32 oz carton Pacific Naturals French Onion Soup
2 large onions
4 slices of french bread
4 slices Swiss cheese

Slice onions and saute in butter or olive oil. Add to it the entire carton of French Onion Soup. Leave on medium heat until soup is heated thoroughly.

Pre-heat broiler. Place 4 oven safe bowls on a cookie sheet and fill with soup. Top each with a slice of french bread and a slice of Swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted.

You can also use croutons and shredded swiss cheese.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Paula Dean's Baked Spaghetti

14.5 can diced tomatoes
29 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp House Seasoning (recipe to follow)
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 lb cooked sausage
16 oz cooked angel hair pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onion, green pepper, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, house seasoning, sugar, and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour.

Add cooked sausage to pot and simmer 20 minutes more. Remove bay leaves before assembling casserole.

To make casserole spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom with sauce and then layer with: 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the cheese, sauce, remaining pasta, and remaining sauce.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Add remaining cup of cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

House Seasoning
1/2 cup salt, 2 Tbsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp garlic powder
Combine and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cheesy Ham & Apple Panini

1 Tbsp Mayo (I leave this out)
1 tsp dijon mustard (I leave this out also...)
2 slices Italian sandwich bread
2-3 oz smoked ham
1 oz smoked gruyere cheese
6 thin slices granny smith apples
red onion slices
1 tsp olive oil

Assemble sandwich and brush the outside of the bread with the olive oil. Cook on panini grill for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

My Weight Watcher calculator gives this sandwich a point value of 8 when no mayo or mustard is used. It looks like just adding the 1 Tbsp of mayo will cost you an extra 3 points. I am very glad I am repulsed by mayo. =)

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced onions
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 flour tortillas

Mix juices, oil, all of the spices and salt in small bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

Cook and stir chicken in large heated skillet on medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from skillet. Add bell pepper, onion and reserved marinade; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Return chicken to skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

Spoon chicken mixture into warmed tortillas. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.

Weekly Meal Plan

I shop on Friday or Saturday, so I like to start my Meal Plan week on a Sunday.

I like blogs that list their meal plan b/c it gives me idea when I am in a rut. I plan on having these posted on Sunday every week and if I have a recipe already in my blog I will link up to it. Otherwise a recipe is likely to follow.

Here we go!

Sunday: Chicken Fajitas, Black Beans, Rice or Corn
Monday: Paula Dean's Pasta Bake, Broccoli, Rolls/Bread
Tuesday: French Onion Soup; Chicken Nuggets for Colin
Wednesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken with Rice
Thursday: Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

Monday, November 1, 2010


This was Colin's first year Trick-or-Treating. First we went to Mamaw's house to visit before we headed over to World Outreach for the Harvest Hoedown (or something like that). We only stayed about 15 minutes. As grand and spectacular the event is, there just isn't anything geared toward toddlers. The Pre-school tent was plenty busy but he doesn't have the skills to kick a ball into a hole or throw a rock at the giants head. I wish they had things like a duck pond where he could pick a duck with a number on the bottom for his prize or that plinko thing with a ball that you put in the top and would fall to the bottom between all the metal pegs. We played in the rice and looked at the horses and then we were done. We may try again in a year or two, but honestly, he enjoyed Trick-or-Treating so much more that we may not go back.

He is a GREAT Trick-or-Treater. Although he can't say "trick-or-treat" he loved running up to the door with his little pumpkin basket. He especially loved houses with dog. He wasn't at all interested in the candy and treats but loved the dogs. He would bark at them and try to pet them.

We didn't need all the candy he got in our house, so we pulled out the suckers and a couple of Reese's for me and then added the rest to our bowl of candy for the trick-or-treaters. I guess we "re-gifted" candy. At least it won't end up on my hips. =)

First house of the night - Mamaw's!

She passed out Teddy Grahams

This is how we carried around Snoopy

Watching horses at WOC

Charlie Brown and Mommy

Charlie Brown and Daddy

The Peanut Gang - Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown

You can see Linus' body on his shirt.

Lucy's can said "The Doctor is in"

Mady came by with some yummy cookies!

Sadly, the best picture I got of Colin and Mady.

Doing and little trick-or-treating. This house was my favorite. They were very excited to see Charlie Brown!