Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mice on Main...

Saturday morning in Greenville, Sara and I decided to take the girls on a fun adventure downtown. The adventure was based on the book, "Mice on Main". Uncle Jeffy read the book to Amelia the night before, so she was super excited to go.
"Mice on Main” is a sort of scavenger hunt that was the idea and school project of a local high school student who wanted to do something good for the community. It is also a fun way for families to entertain their kiddos. The bronzed mice were placed in “hiding places” and the children are invited to search, with the help of a list of clues, for nine bronze mice. Each mouse has a name, and the sculptor has given each mouse a number, so they can be easily identified. Some are up from the ground, others at street level. You just never know where they will show up! I think we might have started a tradition when we visit Greenvile! Check out the slideshow below!!

The Great Adventure

Click to play Mouse on Main
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recipe Round-Up - Turkey Chili

Here we go again - another soup. This one could not be more simple, or delicious!! I have been making this one for years and, in my opinion, there is nothing better than this on a cold day. It also freezes great. So, if you do have leftovers, freeze it and save it for another cold day.

Turkey Chili

2 pounds ground turkey (or ground chicken) *i have found that the flavor of ground beef overwhelms all the other flavors*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
20 oz. whole tomatoes
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 - 15 oz can kidney beans; drained and rinsed
32 oz chicken broth
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 green bell peppers; chopped
1 small yellow onion; chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Heat a pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the vegetable oil. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, and cook through. Add the green peppers, onion, 
 garlic, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the whole tomatoes(with the juice). I use a potato masher to gently break them up. Add the diced tomatoes (with the juice), kidney beans, and chicken broth. Bring to  boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Feel free to add your favorite toppings. Enjoy !!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

We are in the SC!!

Amelia and I are in Greenville right now visiting my sister, niece, and brother-in-law. I just had to go ahead and post some pictures I took of Amelia and Ella. They were so excited to see each other!!! We have already had a fun-filled weekend and are getting ready for a BBQ tonight. More pictures (and stories.....) to follow:)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recipe Round Up - Chocolate Pumpkin Balls

I have just recently started baking again. Mainly because Amelia loves to bake, and loves eating sweet things!!! I'm not sure why I stopped baking. Probably because their is a science to it (which I don't like) and involves some math (which I hate!) Like I've said before, I don't use recipes. And, when you bake it is very necessary to follow a recipe. When I went to culinary school, baking & pastry arts was originally my major (yes, you can even change in culinary school!). I first fell in love with baking when I worked at Erling Jensen's. I loved the creative process. I, however, don't really have a sweet tooth. Don't get me wrong, I like sweets, but there are a million other things I would rather eat. Well, this week Amelia and I made some delicious cake balls and I thought they were worth sharing!!

Chocolate Pumpkin Balls
1 box french vanilla cake mix
1 can pumpkin
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

1 can cream cheese frosting

2 bags chocolate chips
1 T. vegetable oil
chocolate sprinkles

Mix the cake mix, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, water, vegetable oil, and eggs together. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan according to package directions.
Cool completely.
Crumble the cake with your hands in a large bowl and add the cream cheese frosting. Rolls mix into balls. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Put in the fridge for 3 hours.
When ready to dip, melt the chocolate and vegetable oil together over low heat. Rolls the balls in the chocolate and put on another parchment lined baking sheet. Scatter on sprinkles while the chocolate is still hot. ENJOY!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who doesn't want to be fancy at 8 in the morning???

Amelia cracks me up! At 3 1/2 she definitely already has an opinion (one different than mine) on what she should wear. I am still thinking big bows, smocked dresses, and monogrammed outfits. This is what Amelia is thinking... hair that is not brushed " I do not want you to make my hair pretty", princess costumes, high heels, and sunglasses at all times. She is quite the diva. They say pick and choose your battles... and I think I am losing this one. Here are a few pics when she won. Mind you, her eyes were barely open when she insisted she could not get up and go to breakfast without her heels, purse, and sunglasses on!!! Love my girl!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A day trip to the Pumpkin Patch

What a day!! My friend, Jennifer, and I decided yesterday that we wanted to take the girls to a pumpkin patch. Originally, we were going to go to one in Arlington, but then I decided that 
Cedar Hill Farms would be a better choice because of all it offered - pumpkin patch, petting zoo, hay rides, etc. It was going to be a little bit of a drive, maybe 30 minutes. We decided that we would carpool and Jennifer wanted to drive, a decision I know she must regret now. Those that know me well are fully aware of my bad, very bad, sense of direction..... But, I was going to be prepared this time. I printed off the directions from Mapquest and directions from Cedar Hills website. Thought we were good to go. Leave it to me to get us lost, not once, not twice, but three times!!!!! Uggg!!!  We had such a wonderful time!! Emma and Amelia had a blast! It was much hotter than expected though - 86 degrees! Here are some pics from our fun day!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recipe Round Up - Seared Steaks with Wild Mushroom Demi Glace

So I'm letting you in on one of my cooking secrets. Really it's  just a short cut, but a great one. This recipe will knock your socks off . This one is definitely one that will impress your company. Like I've said previously, I don't use recipes. So, tonight was quite a challenge for me as I prepared this meal. I was busy trying to write down exact amounts and cooking time. I am including a picture of the finished product as well as a picture of little secret - packaged Demi Glace, so you know what you will be looking for. Demi-Glace is a French brown sauce. It is quite a lengthly process if you make it from scratch. It is heavenly. I served these steaks with mashed potatoes and balsamic glazed baby carrots - it was yummy! Enjoy!!

4 - 6 oz steaks ( I always buy them from Charlie's and remove the bacon)
Kosher Salt
Ground Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Demi Glace Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 shallot; minced
4 oz. assorted mushrooms; sliced (i used a mixture of baby bella, shitake, and oyster)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme; minced
1 pkg of Demi Glace(you can find this at Wild Oats - on the same isle as chicken stock)
Kosher Salt
Ground Pepper

Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and butter. After the butter is melted, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Then add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for  5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the demi glace to the pan. You will add it and then four parts water. Follow the directions on the back of the package. Stir and turn down to medium low heat. Let cook until steaks are done, then add the fresh thyme.

For the steaks, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Rub the olive oil onto both sides of the steaks, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat an oven proof saute pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the steaks and sear on each side for 2 minutes. Then, transfer the steaks, in the pan, to the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve the demi glace sauce over the steaks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Recipe Soon....

So, I feel like I've dropped the ball a bit this week!! I think it must be from working several jobs. Why do they take up so much time?!! Time that I could be sitting here sharing all of these wonderful meals. I promise to make up for this, I will be posting several recipes this week, with pictures for all of you to enjoy!!! If you have a sec, please let me know if you have tried any of the recipes I've posted so far and how you've liked them!!!

The Man in the Moon

Being three must be a blast!!! Life seems to be to full of fun at this age. Amelia seems amazed at everything and very inquisitive. Tonight, she asked me about the man on the moon. "Where was he" and " why couldn't she see him"?? I told her that just because we couldn't see him, doesn't mean he's not there. We could talk to him, and he would most definitely be listening. A few minutes later, I peek in my rearview mirror and see her looking at the moon through the sunroof. She had her hands folded like she was praying and was telling "the man on the moon" how happy she was. She said it over and over again.... " I am so happy". I am so happy (and tearful) that my little love is happy, because that is what we all want for our babies.... Especially during this time in my life, it is so reassuring that the "man on the moon" is always looking out for us. He wants all of us to be happy and for our life to be fulfilled.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Recipe Roundup - The Best Meatloaf Ever..... no, really!!!

Meatloaf, potatoes, green beans.... sound like a perfect Southern meal, doesn't it?? I think you will love this meatloaf . Its not your typical meatloaf and its also a good way to sneak in some veggies!!

1 pound ground turkey
1 carrot - shredded
1 small yellow onion - diced
1 red bell pepper - diced
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 egg
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Herbs de provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the red pepper, carrot, onion, and garlic. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, mix the ketchup, mustard, egg, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper together. Add the vegetable mixture, ground turkey, and Herbs de provence. Mix together, then add the breadcrumbs. Form into a loaf and place on a sheet pan. Cook, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. ENJOY!!