Wednesday, March 28, 2012

That meal.

Do you have that meal that seems to save the day, whenever you really don't have the time or energy to do much?

I have a couple that we rotate through. They all have similar ingredients but different sauces that go on it it change it up. Nothing fancy, or amazing but classic comfort foods quick and easy!

Tonight was one of those nights. So out came the chicken/cheese casserole.
This has very simple ingredients and super easy to do! I adjusted the original recipes to make it twice as fast and easy. I must warn you before I lose any credibility as a cook here, this is nothing fancy, extraordinaire but it has protein, veggies and some dairy. So all in all when you are in a pinch, and really don't feel like whipping up a fancy meal this is great.

What you need:
2 boxes Chicken Stuffing Mix
2-12 oz canned chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup sliced carrots
( I just eyeball the carrots, cheese and corn, and sub fresh or frozen and thawed broccoli inside too!)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook stuffing mix, following the directions on box.

Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken, corn and carrots on the bottom of pan. Lightly salt and pepper.

Mix soup and milk together and then pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle cheese, add a little more if you'd like- there is no real rule. Then spread the cooked stuffing mix over the cheese layer.
Place in oven, in covered for about 20 minutes. Everything is cooked so you just want it all to melt and mesh together.

Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Scoop onto your plates and you get a thumbs up from your kids.

Especially if you give them buttered bread to go with it. (does everyone else have kids that love butter?)

But if you are super lucky you can have batman join your dinner.
See what magical powers this meal has?!
My kids are catching onto what this meal means, uh oh Mom is having one of those days!, Saige even willingly loaded the dishwasher while I was making dinner.

So please if you have that easy go to meal, please share. We need more!!!

Oh also this meal will feed 6-8. So if it's just the kids and I we half the recipe. If you know Matt he won't eat leftovers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Friday Fun Night

We try to get out together with out little family once a week. Whether it's a movie, trip to cabelas or even ice cream and a drive we have been doing pretty good and having lots of fun. It's nice to be with our little family once in a while.

A few weeks ago Matt really wanted to go bowling. So we went to FatCats for some yummy pizza and bowling.

Saige not only was the artist of the night but also the photographer. She took every picture of the night, and have to say she is pretty darn good. She has caught on to my photo taking habits.

Pizza factory can't be beat. Even Milo's cucumber pizza.

Milo took this game very serious. Would not let Matt or I help him in anyway. If I tried he would tell me to go sit down.

Saige was having fun people watching and taking photos.

And guess who got the highest score....mama!!! But barely, Milo almost beat us all! We won't talk about Matt's score hehe.

Last weekend we let Matt choose again- The Sportsmen's Expo was in town so we had to stop by.

After walking down the aisle of animal heads, fly fishing gear and camo everywhere we found the kids fishing tank.

We were all very excited, and after about 1 minute Saige caught her fish!

She had all the 11 year old boys jealous and quite envious.

Best part was her tongue could not stay in, which means you know she is concentrating.

We had a fun time, its great to see Matt's excitement when it comes to things like this! But note to myself- don't wear neon colors to a sportsman's expo. The only bright color they are use to is orange and boy did I get some funny looks.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

End of the Rainbow Cupcakes

We had so much fun making our cupcakes, thought we would share a few secrets.

I decided to make a treat that wasn't dyed green, as Matt cringes at the amount of color I add to things during this holiday.

So we made an Matt-friendly treat for all to have.

We used a great white cake mix, added some fresh lemon juice and zest from a large lemon. They added a perfect lemon taste. In certain cases, I am all about using a mix. By adding a few fresh ingredients, it makes a cake mix so much better!!! So don't forget to play with it a little.

While our cupcakes were baking we got our decorating supplies ready.

In our cupcakes, we wanted the gold at the end of the rainbow. So we filled them with lemon curd, so when you bit into it you were surprised.

Using a bismark tip, we filled cupcakes with a little bit of curd. This tip has a long small end, perfect for filling cupcakes and not taking out the whole center. It's best to do it while the cupcake is still warm. We squeezed about a tablespoon in each cake and then took them out of the pan to finish cooling. After we filled the cupcakes we were ready to decorate!

Buttercream, icing gel colors, a large star cake tip, decorating brush, pastry bag, and scissors is what you will need.

Slide your tip into your bag, you can use a canvas bag, if you like- it actually holds a little more color than the plastic ones, but wanted to show you how it looks. Cut the tip of the bag so your tip pokes out. Take your bag and place inside a cup and fold the top of the bag around the cup so it holds it in place.

Dip your brush into your food color gel and draw lines up from the tip until about 3/4th up the bag.

Repeat with the colors you would like to use. Make sure to leave room in between each color so when you add the frosting it won't blend together.

While still in the cup, load in your icing, and then unfold from off the cup and press down the icing.

As it presses through, the icing color comes off in lines and makes the perfect rainbow. After about 6 cupcakes we had to put more icing in our bag. It actually had some color left and I really like the color it put out.

Much more to Matt's liking.

Perfect for kids and adults, you can easily substitute cream for a cream filled cake, or even a raspberry sauce.

Not the best picture but this shows the curd inside. It was a yummy treat, my Mom even called to say it was the best cupcake she has had! I give all credit to the curd, it is quite yummy!!

There you go, a fun way to decorate. Use any colors you would like! And don't forget the gold inside the cupcake!

(If you want a solid swirl of color, you can buy these striper bags. they have a line sealed in between that allows you to fill with two different colors and stripe that way.But you are limited to only two colors at a time!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Green man strikes again

Hidden behind the yearly must have of green milk was the first clue of our first time paper hunt. Until finding the first clue, I had to

give a little help, Saige was so upset. She came running into my room so sad the leprechaun didn't make it to her house.

The usual messiness and chocolates weren't there but this Mom had to be to work and the big ol dog would have eaten all the chocolates in his nightly prowl, if we had made a mess so I chose to be a clean-freak leprechaun. Dad enjoyed this much more.

Each clue followed the colors of the rainbow, and you had to find them in rainbow order. Luckily my kids can't read yet, so I threw some of my words in there explaining why things were different. Somehow they liked it better hearing it from a leprechaun and not their mom.

Milo was still a little confused but followed Saige around, this kid is a slow morning guy. He likes things to happen at his pace, so running around at 8 am was not his idea of fun.

A few more clues, I promise we are almost there.

And finally the blue clue led us to he end of the rainbow where we found purple,

And a pile of gold coins. The kids didn't even notice that the leprechaun had I take a potty break during this hunt

After a fun hunt, and a run through the house, the kids enjoyed the cereal and green milk.

Which Milo later informed me that didn't taste any different, and thought the leprechaun would have changed the flavor too.

All in all it was a pretty low key Holiday for us. We would have done a whole lot more but I had to head off to work. Boo.

Thank heavens Sunday night we made up for the actual Holiday's events. My sister Bonnie made us a traditional Irish dinner, accents and all, and we enjoyed some more green pinching, Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and even some rainbow cupcakes.

All in all it was a great few days. Hope everyone ate lots of green food coloring, wore green all over and even gave a few pinches to those Scrooges.

Now we are off to get our Easter up!!

The hunt was found at the crafting chicks, and will probably do something similar next year but make a bigger mess for my Saige girl. She likes messes. Hope you had a great Holiday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A day in photos.

Are you sick of our monthly photos yet? No oh good. I'm glad cause we are still doing FatMumslims challenges and if I haven't persuaded you to try a month long challenge maybe this new one might be one for you.

While I am still focusing on the listed moments for each day, I saw somewhere that they were doing a daily challenge. Every hour for the day take a photo and capture your moment. Somehow in my mind agreeing to do 12 hours might be easier than 30 days right?

I thought about it and threw it in the back of my mind, but this morning as I laid in bed after Matt left at 7:00 am, that I was going to try it today. I really didn't have a whole lot planned, so I set reminders on my phone every hour (without this I would not have done it!! Almost every time the alarm went off I had to think why it was going off). So here is my day by the hour: (If you get bored it won't hurt my feelings)

Morning yoga. I try to get to it a few times a week. If I get to it before the kids wake up it is so much easier. Milo thinks its funny to sit on my back. Not funny when I'm concentrating on balancing. I got about. 1/2 way thru- then they awoke.
Ps- Sarah Morris, if you read this, I miss your yoga. Videos at home are just not the same, and I don't do it nearly as much as I should. So move back will ya?

Green eggs for breakfast. A couple weeks ago saige's teacher asked for a cookie cutter for Dr. Seuss's Bday. I was so glad she reminded me and we planned out a fun breakfast to celebrate. (I will share the whole day later!)

The kids were a little surprised and taken back. Milo loved them, Saige reluctantly ate them but told me several times how much she would have rather had cream of wheat.

After breakfast and bath time we came back to find Bull practicing a little yoga. Most times if I'm doing yoga and he comes out and tries to kick me off the mat so he can lay on it! Makes it a little difficult!!

The dreaded dishes. I wish these things would just load themselves. I spend too much time over at this sink. I guess that's the disadvantage to cooking.

This was part of our Dr. Seuss celebration. Ms. Dawn did a crazy hair day and Saige came up with this all on her own!! It turned out great.

Taking my crazy haired girlie to school. She has me pretend I'm the private driver for the smith family. She has me ask her where she is headed, and she likes to tell me where to go. It's been a good way to learn left and right so I play along. She won't let me walk her down, as I am just the driver. Oh the imagination on this girl.

Cleaning. Dog hair has become my biggest enemy. So my Miele vacuum and I really are best friends. Love this thing.

Oh don't worry. Still cleaning. One disadvantage to having wood floors throughout the house- sweeping, and mopping are required.

Ms. Dawn's cookie creations. She did such a good job, especially since this cutter was really a candle we stretched! I may have eaten all 4 by myself. True story.

I decided to start painting my kitchen. Saige helped me tag the wall first. I think with her help it was way more of a headache but she loved it. So it was worth it.

Finished the calendar wall. Painted the wall and baseboards. Glad to have that part done- cant wait to show the final product! This is going to be our family calendar!!

Milo crashed right into his chair and gave him a bloody lip. Poor kid could not get it to stop. Finally when it stopped he decided to eat salty tortilla chips! Ouch!

Still painting!! Loving the changes and the color and light it's added!!

Finally finished painting and we headed out for some sushi. Saige's pick!!

Checking out my newly painted wall, and what in the world happened to my clean house. I guess when the Mom starts a project, everyone else makes a mess!!

Climbing into bed with my hubby and some mindless show. Good to be in bed.

Overall I had fun!! Much much much harder than the monthly challenge. One photo a day is easier than every hour. It was sometimes silly, all the cleaning ones, but fun to see what we did in one day!!

Hope you enjoyed our day. Still painting, so come stop by!!