Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not a Perfect Week

It's Tuesday. The morning after. After Monday Night Football, that is. I picked the wrong team to win last night's game. It seems Favre's arm does work well in the cold. He does play for GB, after all. That's a pretty cold city. Plus they play outdoors, not in a dome. He is also the most experienced QB in the league, as well. I guess I should have taken that into consideration before I picked Denver over GB. I assumed that the altitude would be more of an issue than it was. I guess the game day temp being in the high 60s made up for whatever altitude issues they might have encountered.

Nevertheless, I am in the lead for the week, and I have tied scores and rankings with My Dearest. I still say, Game On!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Go see her!

I met Karen at my moms group last Spring. (The group was previously affiliated with MOPS, but decided to branch out on their own, creating their own independent group.)

Karen is an awesome speaker. She has lots of wisdom and encouragement for mothers, as we are in the trenches on Planet Motherhood. By the way, she is not my Mrs. H, although the initial fits, lol!

She is giving away a copy of her book, "Confessions of an Irritable Mother." Click on the book image to enter for your own copy and tell her you came from my blog!

Forgive me, I don't know how to underline book titles in blogger!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Chicken, Artichoke, and Rice Bake

I think Fall is actually here! We're supposed to dip below the freezing point tonight. That means slow-cookers, casseroles, and comfort-food recipes to come! I tweaked a classic Campbell's soup and rice recipe for this much-loved recipe in our house.

Chicken, Artichoke, and Rice Bake

Combine and turn into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan:
1 - 10 3/4 oz. cream of mushroom soup
1 1/3 c. water
3/4 c. uncooked rice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 - jar artichokes, drained and chopped

Place 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts on top of rice mixture. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Guten Appetit!

Week 8 Wins!

I don't normally blog about football, but I'm SO. EXCITED. ABOUT. THIS! You know I like football. You know I do picks. THIS. IS. THE. FIRST. TIME. EVER. that I've picked correctly for the whole day, let alone perhaps an entire week's picks. In the last 3 years I've picked, I don't think I've ever picked anywhere near 100%.

I'm not as confident about Monday Night Football. I've picked Denver over Green Bay. I know Brett Favre has been really unstoppable this season, but I think the altitude is going to be an issue for him and the rest of the GB team, although not too much of one as I've picked a fairly low-scoring game with a ten point difference between the two teams. Yes, I call 27-17 a fairly low-scoring game. Have you seen New England's scores this season? They've been averaging over 40 points for each game. Okay, perhaps not an ordinary example. How about Indianapolis? They average over 30 points scored per game. Okay, maybe another extraordinary example. Okay, I've called a moderately exciting football game based on my predicted score. We'll see how it goes.

Fall Ya'll!

Well, I've been pondering this give away thing for a couple of weeks. Do I give something away? Do I just sit this one out? What to do??

Well, I've decided to join the fun again! My giveaway will be posted sometime tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gym and Ice

The boys have been taking gym classes at our local sports/recreation complex. They have a fun program for children which meets weekly, and we decided it would be a sanity saver to put our children in an organized physical education program. Plus, I thought I'd take the time to ice skate while they were in class. 2 uninterrupted hours of cool, ice skating bliss. After the previous ice skating incident, I was a bit hesitant to get back on the ice, but the uninterrupted time was calling my name!

The first week, I had to prep a scrapbooking workshop so I spent my time cutting paper. The second week I had a dermatologists appointment for a spot of what turned out to be eczema, which I need to treat with a topical cream.

This past week, I did it! I started out finishing some cards, adhering card fronts to card bases that have just been begging me to make them into complete cards. After I finished, Jessica and Lydia, 2 high school aged gals from my homeschool group, compelled me to join them skating. After getting my rental skates and starting to lace them, Andy, the employee who filled out my accident report before, saw me and asked, "Is this such a good idea?" I could see that he just had visions of filling out another report, collecting statements from witnesses, and I could just see him heading back to the office to get the clipboard at the ready, just in case.

I was undaunted and we had a blast. These two gals were so much fun and encouraging about me getting back on the ice. I noticed that Andy was standing out by one of the windows talking to another employee as we were skating. The girls and I had a fun time imagining their conversation and poking fun at my previous ice skating incident.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Car Update

Well, it's been a few months since our car issues started. It has been resolved, I just haven't updated ya'll. Here's the update!

We remembered that one family was selling their Honda Odyssey and we decided that it would be great to have more cargo room, especially since we seem to like this camping thing and we're planning on making it a yearly event. No more Big Mac box on top of the car! :-) Do you know what I'm talking about? Are you too young to remember Big Mac boxes made out of Styrofoam?

Anyhow, we are the owners of a mini-van. It's a 2000 Honda Odyssey EX with a hauling package of some sort. We have had it since sometime in August. The boys love the automatic doors; I admit, I do too, especially when it's raining! I'm not even ashamed to admit I like driving it. :-)

Recipe of the Week: Crab Dip

Nikki replied to my Foodie post and I had forgotten about my Crab Dip recipe! It's time to revive it as the holidays are coming (yikes!!) and this dip is great to take to your holiday gatherings.

Crab Dip

Mix thoroughly:
2 - 8 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened*
1 - 6 oz can crab meat
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
5 dashes Worchestershire sauce
3/4 c. cocktail sauce (or until creamy or to taste)

*Feel free to use regular cream cheese, if you prefer.

Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with textured crackers.

Guten Appetit!

Last Week's Recipe of the Week: Turkey Barley Chili

We have one eater in our family who is particular about certain foods. Actually, I don't think it's the food, it may be the texture of the food. Anyhow, this is one recipe that my particular eater has requested and is enthusiastic to eat! For those with cholesterol issues - did you know that barley is better at lowering cholesterol than oat?

Turkey Barley Chili - modified from Quaker (Chicken Barley Chili)

Brown 20 oz ground, lean turkey in a large pot.

1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomato, undrained
1 - 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 - 14.5 oz chicken stock
1 1/2 c. pearled barley
4 c. water
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 - 20 minutes.

1 - 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 15 oz can whole kernel corn, undrained

Simmer until barley is tender and beans and corn are warmed through.

Bon Appetit!

A Breath of Fresh Air

Forgive me for not posting this week. Today is my day to post last week's and this week's recipe of the week, along with some tidbits of wisdom I've gathered.

Earlier this week at my Moms group, I dropped my boys off in their classrooms and feigned casual-ness as I asked their teacher how they had been behaving and acting, as they have had days where I'm ready to tear my hair out and send them to the moon. Hopefully, they would act better than they were at home.

Mrs. H stated that she has no problems with the boys and they were kind, patient, well-spoken, and got along with the others in the classroom. I paused a moment and asked if she knew which boys were mine. I told her some of the difficulties I'd encountered during the week and some of the frustrations I've had. She laughed and said, "Look at it this way, your home is like the classroom. That is where your children learn about how to behave in the world and test their limits. If they are testing you at home, but are behaving out in the world, you are doing your job. You just need to stay the course." I felt so encouraged!

Sometimes, when asking for advice from other people because I felt that I was at the end of my rope and I was feeling so discouraged, hopeless, and as if I was all alone on planet Motherhood, I'd receive the trite and usually worse-than-useless, "Oh, honey, just enjoy them because they grow so fast!" I know these people mean well. And looking at how quickly the younger years went, I can appreciate it somewhat. However, when you are in the Motherhood tunnel and you cannot see any glimpse of sunlight, I was in desperate need of some real encouragement.

Mrs. H is a wonderful, godly encourager. May all of you find or have someone in your life like Mrs. H.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Pizza

50 Toes has asked so nicely for the recipe and I thought I'd share it as my first official Recipe of the Week! Thanks to Mandy for sharing her recipe from "that Italian woman in Italy."

Pizza Dough:
Add ingredients in order into a bread machine pan:
  • 1 cup water
  • 15 oz flour
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast
We use the French Dough setting on our bread machine; it runs for 1 hour and 48 minutes. Experiment with what works for your machine or create by hand. This recipe makes enough for 2 - 9x13 pans. You can get 2 - 9x13 pans, plus 1 - 9x9 if you prefer thinner crusts.

Pizza Sauce:
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T sugar
  • oregano, to taste (we use 3/4 T to 1 T)
  • garlic, to taste (we use about 2 or 3 cloves worth)

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan (use a whisk for smooth sauce with nary a lump of tomato paste). Simmer sauce for 3 - 5 minutes; DO NOT BOIL as it will make the sauce very acidic!

This recipe makes enough for 4 generously-sauced 9x13 pizzas.

We generally use pepperoni, pineapple, and black olives. We also like bacon and black olives. Yes, we really like black olives. If you're with us, yay! If not, let it go and be happy that we're eating your share of black olives in the world. We bake our pizzas at about 400* (My Dearest, is it 400* or 425*? 450*?) for about 25 minutes to 1/2 hour. Go forth and create your own pizza masterpiece!

We have also found that the glass 9x13 pan gives the crust a nice crispness, without making it too crispy. For more fabulous pizza recipes, look through this book. It's the one that started us on our journey towards finding our pizza.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Healthy Tip of the Week

This is one of our family's favorite new things: Greek yogurt! It's like sour cream, but without all of the fat and calories.

Take plain, all natural yogurt, spoon your desired amount into a coffee-filter-lined colander or strainer and refrigerator for at least 8 hours. The whey drips out of the yogurt (watery liquid) and you are left with a thick, creamy, sour cream substitute. I had my Dearest try it. He said, "It's like sour cream, but so much better!"

We use it in place of sour cream for Mexican food and I will be trying it this weekend in a Spinach-Artichoke dip. Details to come!

Are You Ready for Some Football?

It's football season! Yes, it's been football season for 5 weeks, but I'm just getting around to actually blogging about it. For the last 3 years, we have been doing football picks, which started with my Dearest and some of his co-workers. He heard a few guys talking on Fridays sharing what they thought would happen with the up-coming weekend's games, but he rarely heard them talking about it on Mondays so he suggested keeping track.

It started with a simple spreadsheet, then it involved sheets of stats - which team has played when, what the scores were, which teams won where, what their streaks are, etc... It started with adding me to his co-worker pool, then the boys wanted to be involved and "do picks" as we call it. It's a fun way to be involved with my Dearest's enjoyment of the sport.

Now, we all pick at ESPN.com on their Pigskin Pick'em page. If you'd like to see where we stand, go to my Dearest's blog for more details.

I enjoy the sport, I understand the sport, but I'm not entirely obsessed with it. My Dearest can tell you all sorts of facts, stats, and who ran where and who did what... in various years, even!

Game On!! May the best picker win!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I am a Foodie, Hear Me Roar!

I love to cook. I know, call me crazy. I know most people love to bake, but that is just not my thing. I enjoy baking on occasion when necessary, but I LOVE to cook. I enjoy all things about food.

When I was growing up, I remember my mom tried her best to have us eat healthfully. She was a nurse for umpteen years and was very interested in nutrition. As most Koreans are, my parents are very health conscious. Or maybe it's just my parents and it's not a cultural thing. Anyhow, we rarely had soda or pop, or whichever terminology you use for carbonated and sugary beverages; we had 7-up only if we were sick. My mom only bought whole wheat bread. We had wheat germ on top of our cereal. We rarely had sugary cereal. Wheat germ on top of Cheerios. Shudder. We ate lots of veggies and fruits. We rarely had dessert or baked goods; perhaps that's why I don't enjoy baking as much.

I say my mom tried her best for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when we had to have wheat germ on top of our cereal, my brother and I sneaked outside to dump it into our tomato patch. We had a bumper crop of fabulous tomatoes that year! Yes, my mom knows all about this. We had a bit of a "do-you-remember-when... " session at our last family get together. Secondly, after I moved out, I rebelled and ate what I wanted. Now, things have come full circle.

As it invariably happens, girls usually turn into their mothers. We generally raise our families the way we were raised. There are some things that we very consciously change, but for the most part, we go with what we know.

I have also started a new journey down the path of healthier eating in our family. We are eating whole-wheat products, brown rice instead of white, lots of veggies and fruits, more fish and less red meat, etc. You'll be seeing more food related posts soon.

One of our weekly indulgences is pizza. If you hang out at our house on the weekend, you're very likely to stumble into our pseudo-pizza kitchen. Now, we don't actually have a brick oven or any of that jazz, but we take our pizza making fairly seriously. We measure our flour for our dough and make home-made pizza sauce, the recipe for which I got from my friend Mandy whose family lived in Italy while her father was in the Navy. It's an authentic recipe, as far as I've been told. It's fabulous, in any case!

We have experimented with baking dishes, stones, temperatures, dough and topping ingredients, and length of baking time. It is one of our favorite meals all week, especially one that the boys enjoy.

Here's our pictorial pizza diary. Bon Appetit, or as one of my sons says, "Bun up a diet!"

Here are our ingredients all assembled and ready to be made into pizza.

Measuring flour for the dough - we use both whole wheat and regular white flour.

Adding ingredients to the bread machine pan.

Pizza sauce ingredients.

Readying the toppings.

Dough, ready to be stretched into a crust.

Nicely stretched and ready to be topped.

Oiling our preferred "pizza pans."

Pizza saucing ensues.

Some toppings go under the cheese...

and some go on top of the cheese.

Ready to bake, along with a bulb of garlic.

Removed from their pans and ready to cut and eat!