Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Ravioli Three Ways

So Kool or Not Kool?  Kool... I did NOT like the wonton wrappers :( 
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Kool... Favorite was the Cheese version

I have never made homemade ravioli before, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pasta, so I was very anxious to try this recipe.  I have also never worked with Ricotta Cheese before.  I make a mean lasagna, but I use cottage cheese and not ricotta cheese.  I like it, but I don't Love ricotta cheese.  I was pleased with how easy this recipe was to make.  Much easier than I thought it would be.  While I didn't like the wonton wrappers (it was more of a texture thing for me), I may have the confidence to make a ravioli recipe where I make the pasta from scratch :) 
Ingredients for one of the raviolis
Egg, Parmesan and Ricotta Cheese
This was very easy to make and I was fortunate enough for JMS to help me.  (I also signed him up for his cooking class next weekend and he is SUPER excited).
We used spinach instead of the arugula it called for because that is what we had in the house.  I meant to grab some arugula last time we were at the Farmer's Market, but I forgot, so we went with what we had.
Wilting the Spinach
JMS is dicing the spinach once it wilted.  

Egg wash for each of the ravioli
The spinach ravioli was my favorite and I even got HAS to eat some of them.  Normally, he removes anything that could possibly be a leafy vegetable (cooked down or not) from his plate and refuses to eat it.  He did ask me "Mommy, why didn't you give me the ones with only cheese in them?  I like those best... you know that Mommy." 
The spinach ravioli was equally easy to make.
Assembling the Ravioli
For my own personal ravioli, I cut off the excess wonton wrapper because i didn't like it.  I thought when I was making the ravioli that I brought it all the way to the edge, but when it cooked down a little bit, I realized there was a good bit of wonton wrapper left over.  I did NOT eat that after the first bite.  However, the ravioli was really good when it was the ravioli without excess wonton.  To me, the other down side of this recipe was cooking 5 at a time.  In retrospect, I would have had 3 - 4 pans of ravioli cooking at a time, so that I could have all of the ravioli completed at one time.  We also made the egg yolk ravioli and drizzled them with olive oil.  They were very good, and a way I would never have thought of to make ravioli, but there was WAY TOO MUCH WONTON WRAPPER :(    This does inspire me to try ravioli from scratch.
You never know... Stay Tuned :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

#23. Organize the Shed once and for All

The shed is one of those projects that needed to be tackled 4 years ago.  There were things in there from when we moved into the house that needed to be thrown away, but instead of taking the time to gut it and start from scratch, we just kept adding things to the inside of the shed until it looked like the following: 

So, Sunday was a GORGEOUS day, so the boys played in the backyard while we made the shed look like this. 

Those boxes on the top shelf are all of David's police files that need to be shredded and then we will have even more room :)  We pulled out everything and got rid of old paint, old shingles, and old supplies that are no longer able to be used (even if we wanted to).  Many hours later, David hung up some shelves and we rearranged things so that now, it looks like this:

There are still a few things to get rid of, but overall, it looks awesome and I am so THRILLED to have it done.  We still have to find an easy way to hang the play pool for the kids to cool off in the summer.  Suggestions?! :) 

So Kool or Not Kool? Chicken Fried Steak

So Kool or Not Kool?  So Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  So Kool

I was a little nervous trying the recipe for Chicken Fried Steak after reading a few posts written by fellow Sweet as Pie members.  My husband (aka Picky Eater) was not going to be here for dinner because he had to work tonight, so I bought about 1/3 the meat that it was called for.  In addition, my youngest is a vegetarian (self proclaimed).  I thought we would start small and if we liked it, we could always go big the next time.  :) 
Around dinner time, everyone wants in on helping... if only I could get that response when it was time to clean up :) 
We set it up just as Pioneer Woman Suggested, Meat, Egg/Milk mix, Flour Mix, and then a plate for the prepared steaks.  JMS did the dredging of the meat from one mixture to the next.  He is so helpful in the kitchen. 

Starting Meat
Dipped in Egg/Milk Mixture
Then dipped in the Flour

Frying in the Oil
I didn't get a good end picture, but the end result tasted great.  In the flour mixture, I added extra Seasoned Salt, Lots of Pepper, onion powder, and Chili Powder.  I used the chili powder because the comments were that it was more bland then they would have liked.  The Chili Powder added a little kick and JMS's comment was "We have to make this again... this was AWESOME."  He also made the gravy and I was so proud to watch him learn to salt and pepper to taste.  I'm so proud of him and can't believe he is already 11.  Where did time go? 
We saved a small piece for my husband, just so he could have a sampling.  He enjoyed it as well and suggested we make this again some time soon!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#63 Take the boys to the circus

While I knew this was on my list, we have a few other things that we were planning on doing as a family, so going to the circus wasn't really in the budget.  However, on Wednesday, my Mother-in-Law called me and asked if we wanted to go because our pediatrician had 4 extra tickets and couldn't go, so she wanted us to have them.  We were totally stoked to get to go and better yet... for FREE!!!  We were going to buy a 5th ticket (since there are 5 members of our family), but when we asked JMS, he said he would prefer to go to the movies with his grandmother, so David and I just took the little two.  We got to the arena by 2, because they had some fun activities for the kids down on the floor from 2-2:45 before the show started at 3.
Once we finished up with the pre-show, we went to our seats and had a few snacks.  The boys are not allowed to watch television, so often they are not used to sitting and watching anything, so I was a little bit nervous about how they would do.
They did great the first half...  they loved seeing the animals and they loved the mouth dropping stunts.  They liked the clowns, but only if their antics were big and crazy :)  After intermission, they struggled to sit school.  All in all, it was a great day and the boys really enjoyed most of it.  The best part is that it was something I wanted to do for the boys and ...  it was FREE.

#40 Have dessert for dinner… For the entire family

I am super excited about my day today :)  We actually get to cross two things off of my 101 things list.  We went to the circus today (will post more about that later) and we had dessert for dinner immediately after that.  I had purchased 4 Living Social Deals to Yogli Mogli (a frozen yogurt place that we love), so we decided to go there after the circus and make that our dinner.  Normally, when we go for ice cream, we get two big bowls and share them amongst the five of us.  However, since it was for dinner (and it was a great deal :) ) each of the boys got to get their own and exactly what they wanted.  They loved it and I loved the sweet smiles on each of their faces.
HAS had chocolate yogurt with strawberries
LPS had peach yogurt with kiwi, strawberries and a few M&M's
JMS enjoyed his yogurt with Grandma
I figured that if we were going to have dessert for dinner... frozen yogurt is the one of the healthiest versions :)  For myself personally, this is a habit I could make into a routine!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#71 Drink 64 ounces of water every day for two weeks in a row

I love fluids!  I am a person who loves having something to drink, but I rarely drink soda or good old fashioned southern iced tea.  I love water so cold it almost hurts your teeth to drink.  I love drinking a very cold glass of milk.

However, I noticed that especially since I have taken this new job, I am not drinking near as much water as I am supposed to.  For the past 2 weeks, every day, I made sure that I had at least 64 ounces of water to drink.  In addition, I found out that when I am drinking this much water... it is a LOT harder if that water is ice cold.  There were a few days that I ended up drinking 24 ounces of water shortly before bedtime, because it dawned on me that I hadn't had enough for the day.  In a weird kind of way, I realized that drinking the appropriate amount of water each day is a lot harder than you think...often because life happens and before we know it, the day is over without the appropriate amount of water!!!   I hope to continue this, but I think it was even harder to maintain in the winter.  In the summer, we get hot frequently and a glass of water is just what we need to cool off... that is not true in the winter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Corn Chowder

So Kool or Not Kool?  Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Kool

As I was cutting up the peppers, my sweet husband came in and said "What the heck are you making?"  I told him it was corn chowder and one of our recipes for the month, so he agreed to try it, although very hesitantly.  I have to admit though, he is a sucker for a bread bowl, so I did have that working in my favor.  Below are my 3 beautiful helpers... although only the oldest was allowed to help with the knife and the chopping of the peppers :)
Cooking the onions... I am fortunate because JMS loves to help with the cooking, so he is my "Food Prep" and helped with chopping the onions and all three peppers.  We included one yellow, one red, and one orange pepper. 
Adding the bacon and cooking further.  While the recipe called for fresh corn on the cob, I couldn't bring myself to pay $1.25 per ear for corn on the cob, so I used frozen corn and it worked out just fine. 
I found bread bowls at Publix and I know how much my husband loves them, so I went that route.  It was my first time to prepare bread bowls, so some of them were cut too short and too thin on the walls, but we made due.

When it was said and done, the soup tasted fabulous with the bread bowl and we will definitely be having it again.  My dear husband, who refuses to eat any peppers, who questioned the dish and told me ahead of time that he would taste it, but not like it... that man... finished off my leftovers the very next day before I could even think about trying them.  The VERY. NEXT. DAY!!!  I guess that speaks volumes about the recipe. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? The Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins

So Kool or Not Kool?  Soooooooooo  Kool
Picky Eater's Verdict?  Only ate a tiny piece, not enough to have an opinion :)

These blueberry muffins were appropriately named.  I Loved this recipe.  It was easy to make and had a ton of blueberries.  As far as I am concerned, blueberry muffins can not be great unless they have a ton of blueberries.  Now, as far as the picky eater in our family, he will not eat any thing from the berry family.  Apparently, he has no idea what he is missing with no strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries in his life.  Both the boys and I would struggle without these things in our diet.  When I purchase blackberries, strawberries or raspberries.  They are gone the first time I open them.  I was fortunate enough to find an organic raspberry picking place near the cabin and I bought too many pints to count :)  Life is good. 
This was a ridiculously easy recipe to make and it didn't call for any butter, vegetable oil... but no butter.  The boys love to help me bake, so they were right there mixing right along.  I really enjoy this time with my boys.  I made these a little bit bigger than I normally would, because I wanted to be able to bake them in one batch.  In addition, I forgot to add the turbinado sugar for the texture :(  I am so sad I forgot that.  The good news is that I will be making these again and I will include it the next go round. 
The sauce we made was also easy and delicious.  It made the muffins that much more moist.  Just writing about these muffins makes my mouth water and makes me want more of them right now!!!
My parents were in town for the weekend which is why I opted to make this when they were here.  Since David doesn't eat blueberries, I thought the extra two mouths to feed would help find a use for them.  My mom raved about how delicious these were... she must have mentioned it at least 4 times...  While they were good cold, they were most delicious when they were warm.
This is a recipe you need to try... YESTERDAY!!!

So Kool or Not Kool? The Marlboro Man Sandwich

So Kool or Not Kool?  Kool, but not So- Kool
Picky Eater's Verdict?  Sooooo- Kool

I have 3 boys and a husband.  Of those... three are carnivores, but my youngest, LPS is a vegetarian.  He is not that way because of us, but he will not eat any meat, nor will he try any meat. Somehow, he knows that it is meat before he even tries it.  Needless to say, LPS had hummus bread and avocado for dinner.  While, he won't eat meat, he will eat those two things. 
The Marlboro Man Sandwich is a very easy recipe to make.  I made two slight adjustments to the recipe.  One alteration I made is that I did not cook the bread the way that she suggested.  I broiled it in the oven.  Next time, I would try to do it the way she suggested.  We were running very late for dinner and my kids normally go to be shortly after dinner, so I wanted the bread to be done as soon as the meat was done.  In addition, I also cut the butter by half in each of the different parts of the recipe.  The flavor was amazing, so I would reduce the butter all over again :) 
My husband LOVED this sandwich and ate the leftovers IMMEDIATELY the next day.  The meat was very tasty and you definitely want to make sure that you get some of the remaining juice on the sandwich.  I liked the sandwich, but it was not my favorite.  In addition, the next time, I may have to try her variation of the sandwich, which adds a little bit more vegetables to it. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

#83 Have the Boys Make Their Own Valentines

Due to the discovery of Pinterest, I thought this would be a fairly easy task.  I have pinned several Valentines ideas, but these are the ones we used this year.  It involved a Tic-Tac-Toe Board and some Tic Tacs (orange and white).  HAS was a great age for this because He counted out all the Tic Tacs for all of the "friends" in his class.  I was also so pleased because he recognized EVERY student's name in his entire class. 
HAS put stickers on all of the Valentines.  He really enjoyed this part, although from the look below, he looks less than thrilled!
The final product for HAS's Class
JMS did 2 different Valentines... He did the one above for half of his friends and he did one that he made by himself Playing on "You're so Kool" using Kool-aid.  I can't believe he is already in 5th grade :(  Where is time going?!?!?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Day with the Fish

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I LOVE a good deal.  The Georgia Aquarium had a "Mommy and Me" ticket for $35 which included admission for an adult and up to four children under the age of 5.  It also included a parking pass, the dolphin show, and the 4D movie.  For Christmas, we give the kids "Experiences" instead of "things."  LPS's gift was a trip to the aquarium so this worked out perfectly.  I went with my friend Michelle and her daughter on a Tuesday morning.  It was wonderful because NO ONE was there so the boys could wander freely through the aquarium without being in the stroller and they could see every exhibit because there was never anyone standing in front of the displays that prevented them from seeing the fish.  It was a perfect day and the fact that it was so reasonable made me that much happier :)

It was perfect because the boys were at an age where they LOVED the fish.  They loved the Dolphin show.  There was a part where they have the audience sing (Higher, Higher, raise it higher) and HAS sang that for days.  Both of the boys continually ask me when we are going back to the aquarium... it was a GREAT day!!!