Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Korey and I are back from vacation and arrived just in time to let Hunter celebrate in today's festivities.

Last week my office hosted a Halloween costume contest and pumpkin carving contest.  This is Julie our receptionist dressed up like Napoleon Dynamite.  She's doing the dorky dance he does.

I loved this pumpkin!  So simple yet so creative!  You can tell a girl did it haha!
And the winner of the contest!  Lego Star Wars man.  It took him several minutes to get this thing on.
And "Deb" part of the Napoleon Dynamite group.  This is Doni, one of the executive assistants.

Our flight landed this afternoon and then Hunter met us at the airport!  With my mom, of course.  I immediately reverted out of vacation mode and was ready to go somewhere so we went to the Fall Festival at Cottonwood Creek.  Since Hunter was really too small to participate we just let him run around the church.

My parents attend this church so they were volunteering at the food tables.  My dad always mans the cotton candy machine every year.

Hunter loved all the people and getting to walk around.  He did not want us to hold his hand so we could keep up with him.  We found an empty hallway and let him go.
Vacation pics, pumpkin patch pics, and what to do with your leftover Halloween candy pics coming soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Classic Waffles

On the weekends we like to eat breakfast.  And by we, I mean the three of us.  Korey doesn't eat breakfast during the week.  Fine by me!

But on the weekends he's ready to eat a good breakfast.  He will typically make fried eggs and bacon if we have it.  But lately I've been on a waffle kick.  He bought me a waffle maker last Christmas after I had asked for a simple, small waffle maker.  We do have a small kitchen after all.  But he decided if we were going to have waffles we needed one that made good waffles.  He bought me a Belgian waffle maker and I'm telling you even though it's a big honking piece of kitchen appliance to store, we've gotten our money's worth out of it.

In the amount of time it takes for it to heat up, you can have your batter mixed up and ready to go without ever using a hand mixer.  The result?  Ummm...we never have to go to IHop for our waffles because we can stay in, have a lazy pj morning, and eat delicious waffles.

The recipe I use calls for milk but I usually make it into buttermilk.  You can do this by adding one tablespoon of vinegar for every one cup of milk.  Just stir and let it sit for a few minutes and get sour.  Eeewww!  But oh so worth it in the end.

Here we have our main ingredients.  From left to right, the dry ingredients, buttermilk, two eggs, and oil.

I like to mix all of the dry ingredients together and all of the wet ingredients together and then slowly incorporate the two.  The batter will still be lumpy like pancake batter but no worries.  Don't mix it until it's smooth.

And then in just a few minutes (I've actually never counted the cooking time) you are left with glorious, thick, delicious waffles.  No wimply waffles in this house!  I love to top mine with butter and peach honey but my supply has run out.  Kitchel please send more!
Classic Waffles by kSk

P.S.  Who says you can't eat these for dinner?

Classic Waffles
(click for printable)

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Turn on waffle maker to preheat.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray. 
If you don't have buttermilk on hand mix 1 3/4 T vinegar in 1 3/4 cups of milk and let it sit for a few minutes.  Mix all dry ingredients into large bowl.  In separate bowl beat eggs with a fork and then stir in buttermilk and oil.  Slowly stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  The batter will be lumpy.
Pour 1/2 cup of batter into waffle mold.  When it beeps that it's ready remove with a spatula.  Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Batter can be refrigerated for approximately two days.  Stir before using again.  If you make all the waffles at once they can be reheated in your toaster.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fish Sticks

Tired of eating chicken?  Choose another healthy alternative - fish!  I made breaded fish sticks last week because I knew Hunter would eat them and they would taste great.

I used seasoned bread crumbs, grated parmesan (the kind you sprinkle on your spaghetti), salt, pepper, and some extra basil seasoning as the basis for my breading.

Then I melted some butter and mixed in my sliced up tilapia.  You could also use an egg or egg whites if you don't want to use butter.

Because I didn't really want to get my hands messy with the breading part, I dumped the bread mixture into a ziploc bag and added the buttered fish.  Now comes the hard part....shake it up!

25 minutes later you have breaded fish sticks.  You can even see the one Korey taste-tested.  These were healthy, tasty and my toddler ate them so this was a winner for us.  Serve this with a side of veggies and dinner is done.

Fish Sticks - by kSk

(click for printable)

2-3 Tilapia filets
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice up fish into one inch wide strips.  Melt butter and dip fish in until it's well coated.  Combine bread crumbs, cheese, and seasonings into ziploc bag.  Toss in fish strips and seal bag.  Gently shake the bag so the fish filets get coated in the crumb mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 min at 350.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

15 Months

Hi, my name is Hunter.  I took over Mommy's blog because I like to taptaptap the keys on her computer.  I'm good at getting into things I'm not supposed to.  Is that why Mommy and Daddy put these things on the cabinets so now I can't open the doors?  There were so many fun things to touch and now I can't.  But they didn't put a lock on the tupperware cabinet.  Oh man you should see how I like to throw those containers all over the kitchen floor.  When Mommy is cooking dinner she has to step over all of those.  And usually a dog, too.  I like to say the word dog alot.  It sounds like "daddog."  Mommy says I say it one hundred times a day.  What's one hundred?

Did you know I can climb, too?  Yep.  Sometimes when Mommy and Daddy aren't looking I like to climb on the fireplace.  I get told "No" alot for that.  Speaking of the word, "no" sometimes I like to pretend I don't know what it means.  Hehe.  But they do let me climb on a big box in front of the couch.  I like to go up and down, up and down.  I sit and I stand.  Mommy sits next to me to make sure I don't fall.  I like to climb!

This is a picture of me.  I like to pose and show off.  I'm not shy at all.  Sorry for the drool on my shirt.  I'm still teething.  I try to bite Mommy and Daddy's toes but they won't let me.  Hehe.

I like to go outside.  If I see the front door open and Mommy doesn't open the door, I cry.  So Mommy told Daddy to take me outside alot.  Hehe.  I play with the leaves and eat some dirt.  If we are at the playground I put rocks on the slide.  I like the sound it makes which makes me laugh.

Shouldn't I get a cupcake or something since I'm 15 months?  I know Mommy made cookies last night but she didn't share any with me.  Sniff, sniff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I have been wanting to make this soup for awhile now for two reasons.  One, squash is in season and two, I knew this would taste soooo good!

Friday night I decided to conquer this.  I don't know what I was afraid of because this simply came out to peel, chop, cook, puree, and enjoy!

I first peeled and chopped up a HUGE butternut squash.  It was probably around 2 to 3 pounds.  And then I chopped up some carrots, onions, and one clove of garlic and boiled them all in some chicken broth.

After ten minutes or so they were done and I poured them in my blender with a couple of chopped up basil leaves.  While the blender was going I poured in some half and half until it thinned out enough but was still creamy.
And it was done!  Hunter ate this.  Korey ate this and even kept asking me all weekend if we had more soup.

I served this along with ham and cheese paninis.  This even made enough for lunch leftovers this week.  What better way to eat your vegetables than this soup!

Butternut Squash Soup by kSk
Butternut Squash Soup

(click for printable)

1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped up into squares
1/4 cup chopped onion (I don't like tons of onion)
3 carrots chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
32 oz chicken broth or water
salt and pepper to taste
2 chopped basil leaves (optional)
1/2 cup half and half

Peel and dice your squash and carrots and add chopped onion and garlic to chicken broth or water in large pot.  Boil for ten to fifteen minutes until the veggies are fork tender.  Pour all of liquid and veggies into blender, add seasonings, and start the blender pureeing on low.  Slowly add in half and half until it's the consistency you want.  Dish out and enjoy!

Adapted from Paula Deen

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Leftover homemade Spaghetti

More fish - I think I'll make fish sticks!

Any suggestions?  We're not having a typical week in our house so I'll be sending Korey to the grocery store soon.


Last week I met Korey after work at a local bookstore because he wanted to read some children's books to get inspiration for ideas he wants to write about.  I agreed to entertain Hunter.

He stacked blocks.

He played with this toy set.

He restacked the blocks.

Korey read but he kept looking over at us so I told him, "We aren't here."
More blocks!  He cried when we left the children's area.  So sad!
But then we went to his next favorite place - outside!
He played with the pumpkins.

And he held his policeman toy the whole time.
Lieutenant Rad!
He checked out the hay.
And I finally got one good shot!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Korey's Surprise Parties

Yes, parties is plural!  Korey does not like to celebrate his birthday so I did what any good wife would do...I threw him a surprise party times two!

The first party was on a weeknight.  We met my family at Freebird's.  It was dark and I only have one picture of him from that night after my camera battery ran out.  So just take a moment to imagine his surprise...

Ok done!  Now on to party # two.  Korey spent all day Friday and Saturday at an art conference.  He got to meet with an art director from Simon and Schuster and show him his work.  This was an opportunity for him to meet face to face with an art director to see his portfolio because most of the time he sends postcards with samples of his new work to different publishers so you never know if that postcard gets buried in a stack of mail on someone's desk.  He also attended writing sessions because he would love to one day write and illustrate his own book.  So while he was working on his dream I was running around like mad to get ready.

Korey actually got home 30 minutes before the guests arrived so I went ahead and told him what was going on.  I had already cleaned and cooked so he didn't have to worry about that.

Here's our first set of guests that arrived.  Luke and Christy and their two daughters, Lucy and Jillian.

Ronnie and Luke are enjoying their second bowl of chili.  Ronnie is about to graduate from DTS.  It's taken him 7 years because he's been working and enjoying having a family.  I told him we'd have to have another party to celebrate.

I was a little worried that the older girls wouldn't want to play with all the baby toys we had but they entertained themselves!  And actually I don't have pics of them because they were off playing their own game.

Below is Jenny, Ronnie's wife watching the kids play.

And then little Miss Jillian decided that she needed to fit into the smallest space possible.  Go figure.

We also ate pumpkin pie for dessert, one of Korey's favorites, and chocolate chip cookies which I made for the kids.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!


Two weeks ago I invited some of Korey's friends over to have dinner for his birthday without him knowing.  Which meant I had to feed a crowd.  And since the weather was starting to turn I decided chili would be the perfect dish.

The recipe calls for Sazon Goya which is a spice packet found in the Mexican food section of the grocery store.  I already had some on hand because I had previously used it for a Latin pork dish.  There are no beans in this recipe but if you like beans in your chili feel free to add them.

These are the main spices...

and Rotel now makes tomato sauce so I used this!

I know this is a messy looking bowl of chili but I didn't have time to get a picture before the guests arrived so this is Luke's (one of Korey's friends) third bowl of chili.  He said he preferred it over the chicken taco chili I also made.

When I finally got to sample this I thought it had the right amount of heat and spice.  I thought it was perfect!

Or if you don't want to eat a bowl of chili you could make chili bites with Tostitos Scoops as an appetizer!

Chili - by KSK

(click for printable recipe)

3 lb ground beef
1 can Rotel tomato sauce with green chili
1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water

1 packet of Sazon Goya (in Mexican food section of grocery store)
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Black Pepper
Garlic Salt

In a large pot brown the meat and drain grease. Then combine beef broth, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and browned beef and simmer for a few minutes. Then add 1 T onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 T paprikia, 1 packet of Sazon Goya, 1 T chili powder, and two shakes of cayenne over the top. Let it boil for an hour.

Then add another 1 T of chili powder and 1 tsp of cumin and boil for 45 minutes.

Finally, add 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic salt, and 1 T cumin. Boil for 15 more minutes.

Serve topped with cheese and a side of cornbread!

This fed 6 adults plus kids!

Adapted from Deb's Hot Rod Chili

P.S. I don't read Esquire!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Leftover Chicken Taco Chili from Korey's party

Broiled fish - again!

Baked Chicken and Butternut Squash soup (no recipe for the soup, I will make one up)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chalkboard Banner

This weekend I decided to make a chalkboard banner for Korey's birthday.  He was at an art conference all day Friday and Saturday so I threw him a surprise birthday party.

I would say this is simple if you know what you're doing but since I didn't research how I should do this it was more challenging than what I thought.  I did know what the end goal would be but getting there was somewhat difficult.

 My original idea was to have these wooden chalkboard circles with magnets on the back that would be lined up on a metal bar to display the message.  That is what was a challenge.  I bought a can of magnetic spray paint and painted a wooden board I bought at Michael's.  After two coats there was no way a magnet was going to stick so I had to resort to Plan B.  Plan B involved me hitting up Target and Home Depot for magnet tape and a piece of metal that could be a board I could hang.  I could only find the magnet tape.  The only metal type stuff at Home Depot was some pipe looking thing.  Umm no.  I'm sure if I'd had more time I could have found something over the course of a couple of weeks. 

So then I went to Plan C.

These are the packages of wooden disks I bought at Michael's.  They were $.99 per package.  Ignore the can of spray paint because I forgot I was going to use chalkboard paint.  Just a side note - I was under a time crunch with Korey being gone and I was also cooking and baking up a storm in the house, running back out to the grocery store because I didn't have sugar or sour cream,  and trying to get Hunter to take a nap because he decided he didn't need a morning nap.  It was a crazy day.
 The can of chalkboard paint is off to the side which I purchased at Home Depot for my chalkboard menu.  I used a foam brush this time to paint on the chalkboard coating.  It was less than a dollar at Michael's.  I only did one coat on these and I think they dried pretty quick.

When the metal board idea didn't work out (I wanted to be able to add or take away letter disks on this piece of metal), I resorted to gluing ribbon on the back of each disk and letting it dry.  I did write my letters on the front first before I glued the ribbon on.  Then after letting it dry I hung it up over our mantel!  If I want to change the letters for next time I can glue on more disks and use a wet paper towel to erase the original letters.

How to:

1.  Purchase packages of round discs (available at Michael's)
2.  Purchase can of chalkboard paint (I got mine at Home Depot but Michael's does have spray chalkboard paint)
3.  Brush paint onto round disks using foam brush (this makes it streak free)
4.  Let dry and then write letters on the front in chalk
5.  Glue ribbon to the backs of each.  I did short little pieces to connect every 2 discs and then one long piece on each end.
6.  Hang up over your mantel and tell yourself that you're a super crafy person!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

Korey is/was/ a drummer.  He has a drumset that we hauled off in pieces from his mom's house to our house.  Since we don't have the room to set it up (sigh) it's stashed away.  Recently, Korey pulled out his drumsticks and cymbals so he could start teaching Hunter how to play.

Dad, I think this is fun.
Rock On!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Smoked Mexican Chicken

Mexican food in a slow cooker!

I had the opportunity to make dinner for a friend who I knew was having a stressful week.  When the guys decided to take over the living room watching football, I scoured my freezer for ingredients because I was nervous they would be staying for dinner and I would need to come up with food FAST.  I decided to split what I had on hand with my friend for dinner and the guys.

This is two frozen chicken breasts in my crock pot.  On top I added some homemade taco seasoning I had on hand, salsa, and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.  Chipotle chiles are sold in a can in the Mexican food section of the grocery store.  The dishes I use them in only require about one or two of these so I keep the rest stored in a container in my fridge.  Then I have them on hand to use whenever I want.  Two is the max I would use on a dish because the more you use the spicier it will get.  However, I don't attribute the spicy flavor to SPICY flavor.  It's more like a smoky, spicy heat that doesn't burn your mouth.

I cooked these on high for 3 hours in the slow cooker and then shredded the meat....

 which I turned into enchiladas!  The only ingredients I didn't have on hand were the tortillas and the cilantro.  Everything else I had.  The filling is the shredded chicken mixed with a combo of black beans and kidney beans.  The beans I had previously cooked in my slow cooker and then stored and frozen in ziploc bags.  I poured queso I had on the top and chopped up sprinkled them with cilantro.  I gave up on trying to chop it up because it just never seems to do well for me.  Pop in the oven for 30 minutes and dinner is served.  Or rather delivered to my friend.
And I ended up not having to feed all the guys from this split so that means more for us. 

We used the leftovers in soft tacos the next day because Korey doesn't like enchiladas at home.  But he'll order them at a restaurant.  Go figure.  Maybe he just doesn't like my enchiladas.
Smoked Mexican Chicken by KSK

Smoked Mexican Chicken
(click for printable recipe)

2 T taco seasoning

2 chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (found in Mexican section of grocery store)

1/2 cup salsa

Put two thawed chicken breasts in a slow cooker.

Top with 2 T of taco seasoning, 2 chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and salsa.

Set on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Shred when cooked.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Saturday

We started the day off bright and early because a month ago we decided to have a garage sale.  We have gone back and forth about what to do with some of our extra furniture since we keep going back and forth on whether or not we're moving.  Well, we're staying so the furniture is going.

  Korey and Hunter are about to greet one of our customers.  Since we had mostly a Hispanic audience I told everyone in Spanish that my husband spoke their language.  One guy speaking in Spanish, said the English word Mexican, as in "You speak Mexican?"  Haha
As the minutes crawled by, and no one wanted to take our awesome stuff, we had to find ways to pass the time.  Korey and Hunter played while...

I took pictures.  Isn't he handsome?
Korey's friend, Kacy, came over....
and Korey told him stories.
Hunter drank a Dr. Pepper....(kidding)

and then we got a tour of our neighbor's garage.  He builds model airplanes.  I never try to be too nosy about what's in his garage...
but when Korey's friend, Joel, showed up they got into aerodynamic discussions and who knows what else.  Joel can get anyone to talk.  Later, Joel and I discussed Blogger and HTML code. 
After we cleaned up from the garage sale, the guys invaded our house to watch football.  So I retreated into the kitchen and made dinner for a friend.  Recipe post coming soon!