Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, Fresh Start

I did an excellent job of keeping my New Year's Resolutions last year. I kept every single one. Can I do it again this year?
  • Find a weekly grocery budget that is realistic (minus meat) and stick to it. No idea on the number just yet. I plan to have that settled by the end of Jan.
  • Read 12 books this year. May not sound like much, but at the end of the day I just want to sleep, not read. So one book a month is a realistic goal for me.
  • Make and keep a regular workout schedule...but don't beat myself up if that week gets hectic and it doesn't go at planned. Some weeks are just that way. I met my weight loss goal from last year but I want to tone up a bit.
  • We set some financial goals as a family that I would like to achieve this year.
  • Cut back to ONE Starbucks drink a week. The girl at the drive through knows my drink order and she asks where little man is when I pull through without him. I frequent that establishment too often. (That will also assist in the resolution listed previously!)
  • Find 2 new dinner recipes a month. Sound easy, but finding recipes that sound good lately is proving to be very difficult.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff (like when Andrew cleans up the toys and they aren't where I would put them). I am bad about letting small insignificant things bother me. And let me tell you...they can be unnoticeable to you...but will drive me bonkers until it is fixed. I want to try and chill out a little bit.
I have set quite a few, but none of them are unachievable. Here is to a wonderful 2011! See you next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Wish You a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

We had such a great Christmas. Colin had so much fun opening gifts. He started off slow, but by the end of the night he was a pro...even opening other's gifts. LOL

He got so many nice new toys. His favorites seem to be his grocery cart, the ride on fire truck, the fire house, the see 'n say, and the race car track. Mamaw got him a step stool for the bathroom that I love. It is green and has his name on it in blue. He is still a little short so he can't get his hand under the faucet yet, but he can stick his toothbrush under the running water.

Andrew and I don't exchange gifts, but his dad did get me a beautiful Pandora bracelet. He had a charm on it for me (a gold dangle heart). My gift from Colin? We picked out another bead for my bracelet. I picked a bird because Colin's name means "dove" and he also loves birds. I have no idea what the draw is, but he loves them. (He will never have one for a pet, though). I had a little Christmas money so I went out and picked a couple of clips to add to the bracelet and one more charm - a cupcake since I like to bake. =)

Colin also got me a little personalized jewelry box (thanks to my mom). I love it so much! I have already filled it.

Yesterday I took the tree down and put away all the Christmas decorations (except the wreaths outside - I forgot). Andrew thinks I am crazy and that it is kind of scroogy...but it is important to me (and my OCD personality) to have everything away by New Year's Day. It is a clean slate and I don't want to be cleaning up 2010's mess in 2011. I even got all the decorations into the attic ALL BY MYSELF. I worked fast while Andrew was working out to show him I can do it.

Here are a few pictures and my charms.

Speaking of a clean slate in 2011, my New Year's resolutions will be posted soon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Colin got drums for Christmas!

Ok, not really, but he will one day. See the video.

Christmas recap to come.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Christmas Leftovers
Monday: Chicken Tetrazzini
Tuesday: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Wednesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken and Rice (I really like this)
Thursday: Paula Dean's Baked Spaghetti (ended up not using the last frozen batch a couple weeks ago)
Friday: Mellow Mushroom - using our Groupon
Saturday: No clue...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Welcome to Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger

Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world

Just like Colin's book says: Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and presents are okay, but Jesus is the real reason we have a Christmas Day!

Don't forget the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

The Coleman Family

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Glazed Cinnamon Apples

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in eight wedges
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbps butter, melted
Vanilla Ice Cream
Crumbled oatmeal or ginger snap cookies (optional), I am going to use Snickerdoodles

Place apples in slow cooker; drizzle with lemon juice.

Mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture over apples; stir gently to coat. Drizzle with butter. Place lid on slow cooker.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours or HIGH for 2 hours until apples are done.

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Serve warm apple topping over ice cream. Top with crumbled cookies, if desired.

Poppy's Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Mix together butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and then add this to the butter mixture.

Chill dough.

Roll into 1" balls. Mix cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar. Rolls balls into mixture. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

I'm Melting!

Meet Frosty

And his army of snowmen 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, snickerdoodles it is then

So those cookies I talked about yesterday? I went to get my cookie press and pick out the disks I wanted to use and noticed it was broken. I went to Target to buy a new one and all they had was a cheap plastic thing for $10. So....I am not doing those anymore! I will be making snickerdoodles and posting that recipe soon.

Also, I found a cookie for next year's cookie exchange. =) Well, my mom found and forwarded on to me. I might try it out tomorrow or wait a few weeks. I would consider it a winter cookie. Pictures to come if I try and tackle it, but no recipe or how to...I am saving that for the exchange. Yes, you would have to wait a year unless I found another recipe to take. Also, this cookie is very kid friendly (to eat, not to make). Intrigued yet? You should be. =P

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Press

Wish me luck. I am tackling some spritz cookies on Thursday.

I got this cookie press a couple years ago and have the hardest time with it. Either the dough is too soft, or too hard, or won't stick to the cookie sheet. But I have Thursday off and I think Colin and I are going to crank up the Christmas music and attempt to bake up a batch of these bad boys. If the recipe I found is any good, you will see it posted here soon. If these fail, I think I will make a batch of snickerdoodles. I know Santa will enjoy them.

If you have been successful with this type of cookie, please give me your secret!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookie Party

Saturday we hosted a Christmas Cookie Party and invited all of Colin's grandparent's and great grand parents. We had so much fun and can't wait to do it again next year. I only wish I had more room in my house so I could include some friends, along with my family, in on the fun. I have a year to see if I can figure it out I guess.

I baked about 7 dozen cookies prior to the party (sugar and gingerbread cut outs freeze great!). I made a couple types of icing and had a bunch of different sprinkles (or as I learned they are also called jimmies). We had Russian Tea on the stove, milk, eggnog, cocoa, coffee, and soda. And to counter all the sweet cookies we had some mozzarella stick and marinara, chex mix, and peanuts.

I think someone was ready to get his hands dirty!

He got his own sprinkle can because he tended to dip his into the icing.

My little brother and sister.

Colin's finished cookie. I put it in its own little baggie in the fridge so we could put it out for Santa.

My cookies.

My full kitchen. I love how even my dad and brother decorated some. And I love that everyone looks so happy in this picture.

One of our group shots. I have another one with Grandma and Grandpa Coleman, but I am having technical issues. And Colin LOVES my Grandma's cane. Won't put it down. We had to hide it.

Once everyone was done with their cookies, we had Christmas themed containers to put them in so they could take them home. I really had so much fun and really want to find a way to include more people. Even if it means putting plastic down in my living room/play room area and getting some card tables. Ha, we will see. That means making a lot more cookies...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

So, this recipe isn't hard, but it is very time consuming. We don't make it often and when we do, we are home most of the afternoon anyway. However, it is one of our favorites. I don't stick to the recipe completely. I use less of the ricotta and mozzarella. We just do it to our personal preference. And I love that it is baked instead of fried.

1 Eggplant
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon water
8 oz Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
26 oz jar of Pasta Sauce
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray or brush with olive oil.

In a shallow bowl, combine eggs and water. Peel and slice eggplant (about ¼" thick). Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs to coat. Lay prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Flip eggplant and drizzle again with olive oil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Change oven temperature to 350°.

Spray a 9x13 pan with olive oil spray. Layer pasta sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta cheese, ½ of the mozzarella cheese, eggplant,and then pasta sauce. Bake for 40 minutes. Add remaining mozzarella cheese to top and bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with angel hair pasta.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Eggplant Parmesan and Pasta
Monday: Ravioli and Veggies
Tuesday: Turkey Burgers and Onion Rings
Wednesday: BBQ Pork Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday: Pizza - Ham and Pineapple
Friday: Christmas Eve Party
Saturday: Christmas Dinner - Ham!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Russian Tea

Bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to a boil
Add 2 large tea bags (or 6 regular) to seep on low heat for 15 minutes along with
2 cinnamon sticks
1 T. cloves (in a tea ball)

Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves (or leave in for a while for stronger flavor)

Add 1 cup (or more/less to taste) sugar
6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
3 oz (half a 6 oz can) lemonade concentrate

Cook this all on low-medium until sugar is dissolved and juices are cooked in.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pork Tenderloin Seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix all the above ingredients and rub it into the pork tenderloin. We then put ours in the crockpot and slow cooked it all day.

Also, we didn't have coriander so we omitted it as well as the salt to make is low sodium.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

I like to try and find a new recipe to try each week, but didn't find one that looked worth trying this week. So, some oldies but goodies.

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner - eggs, sausage, potatoes or pancakes
Monday: Pork Tenderloin Roast in the crockpot with veggies and rolls
Tuesday: Leftover Pork Roast
Wednesday: Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas, Beans, and Rice
Thursday: Something quick and easy - probably sandwiches
Friday: Company Christmas Party - Maggiano's!
Saturday: Paula Dean Pasta Bake (the last of the frozen sauce that I made over a month ago!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Puppy Chow

Some call this Puppy Chow and others call it Muddy Buddies. But I think we can all agree it is hard to resist the powdered sugary goodness of this sweet treat.

9 cups Rice Chex®, Corn Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

PointsPlus: 6pts per 1/2 cup serving. This recipe make 18 servings.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What has been going on?

I have posted a ton of recipes lately, but no posts about what we have been up to. So here it is!

First, Colin is starting to talk! I really think kicking the paci habit (for good) and having his tubes put in are what turned this around. And we haven't had a single ear infection since the tubes have been placed. I really wish we had gotten them sooner. It is a pain to have to put ear plugs in at bath time, but he is such a happy little boy now!

Are you wondering what he can say? His favorite: ball, baby, apple, mama, dada, papa, juice, bowl, tractor, balloon (he gets pretty close on that one), and brush (as in he wants to brush his teeth). Those are the words he uses the most and that he uses with the right objects. He also will tart to repeat words 9the best of his ability) when you ask him too. They don't always sounds right, but he tries!

He also is really starting to understand what I am asking him. He gets his shoes, hugs Molly, retrieves Baby Jesus, gets his favorite book, and a lot of other things we ask him to do. My favorite (stolen from Mary Leigh) is feeding the dog. The other day he noticed Molly had no food in her bowl so he said "bowl, "picked it up, and went to the back door to wait for us to fill it. I told ML that whatever Bates' next chore is, that will be Colin's. I am just following her lead since Bates is 6 mths older. =)

Colin loves the Discovery Center. Mamaw takes him every Monday morning to Parents and Tots and I have decided we will be going every Wednesday afternoon. So, if you ever want to meet up with us, we will be there on Wednesday afternoons after nap. Except this week - we will be at Opryland Hotel admiring the lights.

This weekend we started training Molly to stay off the couches. I love her, but I want my couch to stop smelling like dog...and I am tired of cleaning off the dog hair. She has a nice warm dog bed in our room that she can snuggle up on. It might be mean to do it after letting her sit on it for 4 years, but just because she has been doing it for so long doesn't make it an ok habit. So far, so good. This training is one of my New Year's resolutions (starting a little early!). Once she has learned to stay off, I am buying some (much needed) new throw pillows. My current ones look terrible!

Our tree is up and ready for Santa to come visit! We have so many fun Christmas activities planned the next few weekends. Colin is even hosting his first Christmas Party for his grandparents and great-grandparents. I am so looking forward to getting together with friends and family to fellowship and enjoy their company and the holiday season.

Other that that, we have been visiting Sweet Cece's - a lot. Anyone want to meet us up one afternoon for a sweet treat? Maybe after MDO one Tues/Thurs?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cripsy Mozzarella Chicken

4 small chicken breast halves
1 pkg Shake 'N Bake Extra Crisp
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

Heat oven to 400.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Coat chicken with coating mix as directed on package; place on foil covered baking sheet. Discard shaker bag and any remaining coating mix. Bake 10 minutes.

Top with cheese; bake 4-5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

Chicken & Roated Garlic Risotto

1 lb chicken breasts
1 Tbsp butter
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom and Roasted Garlic soup
2 cups water
2 cups uncooked instant white rice
1 cup frozen peas and carrots

Heat butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Remove from skillet.

Stir the soups and water in skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and vegetables.

Return the chicken to skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove skillet from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus: as calculated by the recipe builder this will serve 4 and is 12pts per serving.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Crispy Mozzarella Chicken with Garlic Spinach
Monday: Ravioli, Veggie, French Bread
Tuesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken with rice
Wednesday: Dinner Out
Thursday: Turkey Chili and Corn Bread
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Christmas Party