Happy Birthday to Me!

July 30, 2008 at 12:55 am | Posted in Cakes, chocolate, Cupcakes, Fun, kids | 8 Comments

Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to me…happy birthday dear April…happy birthday to me!  : )   This past weekend was my ::gasp:: 27th birthday.  I am not quite sure what I think about that yet mentally speaking.  However, my family and friends made sure that I enjoyed my birthday no matter what age I was.  : )

On Friday night, Tommy, the kids, some friends of ours and their kids went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for great food and margaritas.  I even wore a cute dress – it’s my birthday – I’ll do what I want!!  LOL  Saturday morning was the big surprise though.  As you know if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, breakfast is huge in our house.  Saturday morning I woke up around 8am and though, “Crap.  I need to get up.  Everyone will be wanting breakfast.”  I stumbled into the kitchen only to be told by Tommy and the kids to go back to bed and relax, it was my birthday.  Um, okay.  I cannot argue with that!  I went back to bed and read for a bit until the kids came and got me.  They walked me into the kitchen to….my surprise birthday breakfast!!!  They had blown up lots of balloons, put up a birthday banner, had birthday plates and napkins and had cooked breakfast for me!!!  Hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and OJ!  My favorite!  I cannot tell you how excited this made me for several reasons.  1) My husband is fantastic  : )  2) I bet not all stepmom’s get this kind of birthday and feel this loved and 3) I didn’t have to cook OR clean up breakfast!!!!  I cannot believe that I didn’t take pictures, but trust me, it was awesome.  : )

Sunday we went to my mom’s house where we had lunch and cupcakes.  The cupcakes were chocolate and were SUPER messy but so good!  Will and I had good messy fun eating them – doesn’t he look SO scary?! 

And I had chocolate all over my teeth and my hands so the kids thought it was hilarious because I do NOT like to be dirty.  LOL

Monday was my actual birthday and I was kind of bummed because I had to work on my birthday.  But when I arrived at work to see this on my desk:

I was so excited!  My friend Lindsay baked me these.  She does NOT cook or bake.  Period.  So the fact that she spent time making cupcakes and working with fondant meant the world to me.  I saw these awhile ago on my awesome friend Clara’s blog and I loved them and Lindsay remembered that.  And they were yummy too!!!

Overall I had a fantastic birthday!  I couldn’t ask for anything more.

PS – these pictures were taken with my new fab 3G Iphone that Tommy bought me for my birthday. Jealous aren’t you?!  : )

Summertime!

July 30, 2008 at 12:13 am | Posted in Yummy Veggies | 4 Comments

I adore the summertime for so many reasons – it stays light longer, dining/bar-ing outside, lightning bugs, flowers, swimming, etc.  One of my favorite things about the summer though is fresh fruit and vegetables from people’s garden’s and farmer’s stands.  Where I live, I can’t get fresh produce year round.  So during the summer, I absolutely take full advantage of it.  I am such a fruit and veggie person that it is heaven for me.

This past weekend we went to Tommy’s parents house.  They live in Kentucky and basically in the middle of nowhere.  The good thing about this is that when we drive from our city/town to their house, there are about 15 fresh fruit and veggie signs along the way.  Also, nearly everyone has a huge garden that they grow every year.  When we arrived at my in-law’s house they had not only veggies from their garden, but a friend had brought things over as well.  Score!!!  So my mother in law was trying to get rid of stuff and she knows I love veggies so I raked it all in.  Check out some of my goods!!

Aren’t they pretty?  However, they quickly became something that looked more like this:

People often ask me how I stay so healthy – well, it’s things like this.  Every week I buy fresh fruits and veggies and immediately when I get home from the store, I wash them all, and chop them up into containers so that they are easy to grab for snacks and lunches.  My mom does the same thing and it’s a habit that I inherited from her – a good one! 

Another one of my favorite summer snacks is fresh watermelon.  So good!!!  The county next to mine is famous for their melons and they just happen to set up a little stand in the CVS parking lot next to my house (how city is that statement?  I am from the country so even typing that statement is odd to me!).  I would much rather give my money directly to the farmer than to the store so I typically get my watermelon from them.  So fresh and good! 

Again, I bring it home, chop it up, and throw it in a container so that we can have it for our lunches and snacks that week:

My other favorite to buy fresh is sweet corn.  I would have taken a picture except we ate it tonight and I didn’t think about it.  : )  Oops! 

Enjoy your summer and buy some fresh fruit and veggies!  Nothing like it!  : )

Stuffed Shells

July 9, 2008 at 1:01 am | Posted in pasta, Turkey | 3 Comments

We love Italian food.  I think we could live on that and Mexican food easily.  Of course, my waistline wouldn’t be as small so I try to limit our intake of both types.  Such a shame that everything that tastes SO good is SO bad for you!  I have been wanting to make these stuffed shells for quite some time so last week I decided to just do it and and try to make it as healthy as possible.  I found this recipe from Good Things Catered whose blog I worship.  She is fabulous.  Period.  Katie, if you are reading this, picture me bowing at your feet.  : ) 

Here is the recipe copied from Katie’s blog – my changes in red

Ingredients

1 box large pasta shells (we prefer Barilla if store-bought)
1.5 – 2 lb. ground beef, turkey, or chicken (I used ground turkey)
4 c. pre-made or 1 jar store bought pasta sauce
4 c. mozzerella cheese, shredded
1 small sweet onion, diced
8 oz. small white mushrooms, quartered
1 c. spinach, blanched and chopped (I omitted)
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I omitted…not a fan of nutmeg outside of baked goods)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 egg

Directions

-Bring about 8 c. water to a boil and cook shells to al dente according to package instructions, reserving 1/8 cup pasta water.
-While the pasta is cooking, place ground meat in a hot pan to brown.
-Remove meat from pan and over medium-high heat cook onions until translucent (about 5 min).
-Add mushrooms to begin to brown (about 2 min).
-Add garlic and cook until just fragrant (about 30 sec).
-Stiring constantly add reserved pasta water to pan to release all flavor/brown bits from bottom of pan.
-Add meat back to the pan along with spinach and cook 3 min additional to reduce liquid.
-Remove from pan and let cool completely.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray the bottoom of a large baking dish with cooking spray and spread 1 c. sauce on bottom to coat evenly.
-Once meat mixture is cooled completely, add parsley, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and egg and mix to combine completely.
-Add 3 c. mozzerella and combine.
-Stuff each shell with as much as it can hold and place into baking dish.
-Once all shells are stuffed and set in pan, spoon extra sauce on top of each shell.
-Cover with foil and place in oven to cook for 30 mins.
-Remove foil, sprikle remaining 1 c. of mozzerella evenly over each shell and place back into oven, uncovered to cook for 5 min.
-Remove from oven and serve!!

Pig Rating:  The big liked these a lot!  He is normally not a fan of jar sauce but with it mixed in with everything in this recipe he thought these were definitely a keeper.

Mrs. PIg Rating:  You can’t go wrong with pasta and sauce with me.  Period.  This was so yummy and it’s pretty if you ever want to impress.  : )

So behind…happy 4th of July! (On the 8th!)

July 9, 2008 at 12:53 am | Posted in Cupcakes | 1 Comment

I am so behind on my blog.  Shame.  I wanted to make something festive for the 4th of July to take to work so I decided on cupcakes.  I bought fabulous Wilton cupcake cups and sprinkes in the red, white, and blue theme but I became really busy and couldn’t make them homemade.  So Nikki…cover your eyes here.  I made them from a mix.  But they were cute, festive, and yummy.  I have no shame at this point.  : ) 

Crispy Chicken Wraps

July 1, 2008 at 12:27 am | Posted in Chicken, Mexican food | 2 Comments

One of my favorite blogs for dinner recipes is My Kitchen Cafe.  She always has such great, easy dinner ideas that even my kids will eat and I love that.  I knew that hubby and I would love this one since we both love Mexican type foods and I love anything chicken and cheesy.  Mmm….

Without further adieu…the recipe.  And for some reason, my blog does not have the little picture icon where I can add a picture?!  So I guess you do not get a picture.  Check out the My Kitchen Cafe blog for a picture of this yummy dinner.

Ingredients (I halved everything for just Tommy and I)

1/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, sliced very thin
2 celery ribs, chopped fine (I omitted these due to my husband’s non-celery preference)
2 tablespoons sour cream, light or regular
2 teaspoons hot sauce (this does not make them spicy but adds great flavor!)
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better, in my book)
4 (12-inch) flour tortillas

Directions

1. Whisk the mayonnaise, cilantro, scallions, celery, sour cream and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to combine.

2. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.

3. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.

Pig Rating:  He loved these!  He kept going on about how good they were.  He said that these are his new “show off” meal when his guy friends come over for a game or whatever.  That is fantastic because these are easy!  : )

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I love these!  So good, so easy.  You need to make these.  NOW.  Go do it! 

 

 

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